Trump and the Dreamers
9/8/2017, 12:22 a.m.
President Trump continues to show us just what type of person he is.
His latest act of political callousness was announced Tuesday by his weasel attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who made it official: The president is dismantling former President Obama’s program that protects from deportation more than 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to this country illegally as children.
Mr. Sessions called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or “Dreamers” program, as it is known, an unconstitutional reach, saying the program will wind down in six months, giving Congress time to act.
It’s an act of pure cruelty to young people, most of whom are in their 20s.
More than 12,000 Dreamers live in Virginia and contribute more than $700 million to the state’s economy, according to Progress Virginia. Under DACA, they registered with the government with the understanding they wouldn’t be deported. It brought stability to individuals and families, allowing the Dreamers to obtain driver’s licenses, work permits and to qualify for in-state college tuition discounts.
As the school year starts, how many of them are on edge today, unsure if federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents will swoop down as they change classes or leave home for work and snatch them for deportation? How many victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas are fearful of getting critical federal assistance to help them rebuild their homes and lives when the threat of deportation hangs over them?
White House talking points on the subject said Dreamers should “prepare for departure” from the United States.
On Wednesday, Virginia Commonwåealth University students changed a planned sit-in at President Michael Rao’s office to a rally on campus after Dr. Rao pledged his support for DACA students. “We won’t go back into the shadows,” organizers stated.
We question whether our president is so twisted that he’s using these young people as political hostages in a sick game with Congress: He will stop his assault on DACA and the Dreamers if Congress ponies up the billions to build his wall on the Mexican border.
President Trump’s actions are dangerous and misguided. He insists on throwing money away on border security when untold amounts will be needed to help rebuild and restore homes and businesses in Texas and Louisiana from Hurricane Harvey and along the East Coast after Hurricane Irma hits.
While we abhor President Trump’s latest act of merciless inhumanity, we are heartened that Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has joined his legal colleagues from 15 other states to challenge President Trump’s termination of DACA. We believe Virginia is on the right side of the law for this court challenge.
We also call on members of Congress to work across the aisle to create a legal framework for the Obama administration’s DACA program. Give young people the protection they need under law, rather than under executive order, so that this president can’t tamper with their security when he gets another sudden whim.
Putting DACA back in force would only be a stopgap measure. Congress needs to take action to give these young people and their families a path to citizenship.
This is where decisive, bipartisan leadership becomes paramount. We know such leadership is missing from the Oval Office. We call on it to come from Democrats and Republicans of conscience and morality in Congress.
Stability for more than 800,000 young people should be more than a dream. Congress needs to make it a reality.