Last September, President Trump laid down the marker of March 5, 2018 for final resolution of the fate of hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. These young people are known as ‘DREAMers.’ One may disagree with the manner and soundness of rescinding this program, but everyone can agree that it is the responsibility of Congress to provide clear legal status for these individuals brought to the United States of America by their parents at a young age. Our elected officials must not fail to get this done.
As the clock continues to tick towards the deadline, polls show that a legislative fix that would allow DREAMers to remain without fear in the only country most have really known and loved is supported by a majority of Americans. This support is founded upon the great economic and social contributions DREAMers are making to their communities and the outstanding achievements they achieve as students, professionals, entrepreneurs, and members of the military, priests and many other occupations.
At Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, we have proudly serve DACA recipients and seen these positive contributions first hand. Kenia is a DREAMer who left Honduras at 13 and came to Cincinnati. She learned English quickly and is working her way through college. Kenia dreams of becoming a doctor but uncertainty of DACA threatens her future.
The prospect of deportation for these law-abiding individuals like Kenia should not be a consideration.
These are our children and this is their home. The special circumstances surrounding this unique population and the obvious benefits they bring deserve a discussion and resolution apart from the more contentious issues that have characterized the immigration debate for many years. It also presents an extraordinary opportunity for policymakers to show that they can indeed come together across the aisle and do the right thing.
My hope and prayer is that our “better instincts” will prevail and our nation will once again provide a shining example to the rest of the world that the United States is still a great land of welcome and opportunity. Please write or call your representatives in Congress to urge their protection of our brothers and sisters – our children – the DREAMers.
If you’d like to more about how we welcome the stranger, join us during National Migration Week on January 10 and 11 when we host a moving documentary and art exhibit, Breathe Free, and Columbus Crossing Borders. Learn more.