Last week, Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced the Dream Act 2017, legislation that is intended to be a roadmap to legal permanent status and citizenship fro Dreamers. Advocates and immigrants hailed the legislation — but one person who expressed opposition was DHS Secretary John Kelly, who said he supported Donald Trump’s opposition to the bill.
This week, two editorials highlight this contrast — the San Jose Mercury News extolling Sen. Graham for his willingness to reach across the aisle and try to solve a problem, and the Washington Post criticizing Sec. Kelly for his total unwillingness, so far, to do anything for Dreamers or immigrants. Read them both below.
San Jose Mercury News: “Lindsey Graham, our hero on the Dream Act”
Conservative South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s sharp wit and straight talk have made him a breath of fresh air among Republican Party leaders in Washington who lack the first quality and, since Donald Trump’s election, seem unable to pull off the second.
We don’t always agree with Graham. But on the Dream Act — providing a path to citizenship for immigrants who were brought here as children and have embraced the American dream — he is our hero.
With an impassioned plea Thursday, Graham and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., proposed an updated version of the Dream Act and framed it as a moral imperative for Congress and this president.
“To President Trump: You’re going to have to make a decision,” said Graham Thursday. “The campaign is over. To the Republican Party: Who are we? What do we believe? The moment of reckoning is coming. When they write the history of these times, I’m going to be with these kids”…
Graham’s plea is unlikely to move Trump unless a strong contingent of other conservatives join the cause of helping promising kids who were raised as Americans. The sooner they join it, the better the chances of heading off a veto.
At a time when the president and GOP leaders are trying to remove health insurance from 20 to 30 million people and lower taxes for the rich, Graham is right: His party could use a touch of humanity. Start with the Dream Act.
Washington Post: Secretary Kelly, when will you speak up for Dreamers?
Here’s a question for Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, who seems to regard himself as a bystander in the impending showdown over the fates of nearly 800,000 undocumented youngsters raised and educated in the United States, who may face deportation if Congress fails to act.
Mr. Kelly, don’t you have a voice?
The secretary, a battle-hardened former Marine Corps general, has assumed a posture of virtual impotence as anti-immigrant right-wingers in Texas and elsewhere threaten legal action that would leave “dreamers” vulnerable to deportation. They would do so even though the young people — mainly teenagers and 20-somethings who have lived at least a decade in the United States — were brought here illegally as children, through no fault of their own.
Back in February, Mr. Kelly addressed lawmakers and said, “I would just beg you . . . to change the law” so that protections against deportation for undocumented youngsters, granted five years ago by President Barack Obama, were not rescinded. Since then, however, he has sounded increasingly passive, suggesting that there is little he can do to protect them…
[In fact there is, by supporting legislation like the Dream Act or the Bridge Act — but he has not spoken in favor of either, and as mentioned above, he’s indicated he does not support the Dream Act.]
Some officials say the administration will defer to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a pro-deportation hard-liner. But Mr. Kelly’s department oversees deportations and would have to cope with the upheaval that would be unleashed on families and communities by a mass deportation of youths, most of whom are American in every sense but their birth. His word would carry weight.