DACA deserves to stay, DREAM on

I believe that every undocumented student deserves dignity, respect and citizenship. I believe every individual should have access to a safe environment to pursue academic success.

A higher education may be out of the question, however, after President Donald Trump recently ended the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program that assisted more than 800,000 undocumented citizens.

Nullifying DACA was a harmful decision, a decision that we must stand against. The termination of this program was portrayed as political posturing, with Trump trying to force the hand of Congress. But the cancellation of DACA is an attack on our immigrant communities, families and friends.

(“Trump” by IoSonoUnaFotoCamera is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

With a few strokes of the pen, Trump cut all DACA recipients down to bargaining chips.

Trump has a long history with DACA; back when Barack Obama was running for reelection, Trump was on board with the Dreamers.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM) is a bill that has been bouncing around Capitol Hill since 2001, and it would extend citizenship rights to a large population of undocumented workers and students.

People eligible for protections offered by DREAM, often called Dreamers, felt that Obama had not done enough in his first term as president to help them, and many Dreamers staged protests at DNC campaign offices across the country. The protesters demanded that the Obama administration stop deporting Dreamers and that the administration sign the DREAM act.

Trump, a longtime critic of Obama, gleefully sided with the Dreamers and helped give them a platform to increase the scope of their message. Just a few weeks after getting organized, the Dreamers accomplished their goals: The Obama administration announced the implementation of DACA in June 2012.

Trump knows how important the policy is to everyone affected by it. He was right there supporting them when they were fighting for extended amnesty, and he celebrated with the Dreamers when Obama rolled out DACA. This is why the termination of the program is especially sinister: Trump is not oblivious to the countless ramifications for hundreds of thousands of families.

Trump is well aware of the consequences of his politicking, and he has essentially punted the ball to Congress. He may be doing this to try and save face, but trying to force our historically stagnant Congress is essentially doing nothing. Congress has the ability to reinstate the program or enact larger, more widespread immigration reform.  Congress even has the ability to pass the original DREAM act, but we must not have a portion of our population being used as bartering tools. We can take action to let Congress know they must act!

If you’re in Athens, contact Rep. Jody Hice (202-225-4101) today to let Congress know that you stand with the undocumented and that we will not be divided. Demand that Congress take action on behalf of our undocumented citizens and pass the DREAM Act! Even though this Congress is one of the worst ever (with a paltry approval rating of 13 percent, according to Gallup), politicians will listen and take action if enough of their constituency raises concern. Calling your representative once a day is a start; calling them 10 times a day can force the dialog to the forefront.

Trump punted the ball to Congress. We must now take it and run.

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