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ICYMI: Strong Bipartisan Support for Dreamers, DACA and DREAM Act

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Our stand is clear: President Trump needs to keep DACA in place until Congress can enact a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers. Today, Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Graham (R-SC) stepped up to introduce a bipartisan Dream Act that would be the kind of permanent solution we support.

In addition, editorials and commentary pieces are speaking up for Dreamers. Find key excerpts from the Editorial Boards of the Wall Street Journal and Miami Herald, and Linda Valdez of the Arizona Republic below. 

Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: “A Bad GOP Dream: State AGs try to bully Trump into deporting the so-called Dreamers”:

Last month 10 state attorneys general wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking that the Secretary of Homeland Security end an Obama Administration program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA currently allows about 750,000 individuals brought to America as kids to stay in the U.S. for two years subject to renewal without the threat of deportation. These are the so-called Dreamers.

The letter asks that the government “rescind the June 15, 2012 DACA memorandum and order that the Executive Branch will not renew or issue any new DACA or Expanded DACA permits in the future,” and it threatens to sue if the Administration declines to act. The ringleader seems to be Ken Paxton of Texas and the AG list includes Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia and Derek Schmidt of Kansas.

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Remember: Dreamers were brought here as minors and are not criminals, and those who commit an offense forfeit their legal status under DACA. A January Cato Institute analysis by Ike Brannon says that Dreamers as employees tend to “be younger, better educated, and more highly paid than the typical immigrant.”

The average Dreamer is 22 and holds a job, and many pay tuition for higher education. More than 15% are seeking an advanced degree. Texas and other states rightly claimed that under DAPA the feds commandeered state resources because they had to provide driver’s licenses. But the states may be net beneficiaries under DACA due to tuition payments.

Cato’s Mr. Bannon adds that deporting the Dreamers would cost $60 billion and even more to the U.S. economy, as the legal reprieve allows many to enter the labor force. The cost of granting DACA status is de minimis; applicants pay processing fees and are ineligible for food stamps or Medicaid. The federal government routinely claims to lack the funding and personnel to remove convicted criminals from the U.S., yet the state AGs would dedicate scarce enforcement resources to going door-to-door in a University of Texas dorm.

The better solution is for Congress to rewrite national immigration law to recognize reality, including that it isn’t a political winner to deport people brought to the country as five-year-olds. A majority in both parties would favor legalizing Dreamers as part of a border enforcement bill. The state AGs have higher priorities than chasing down law-abiding young people contributing to American society, and a lawsuit would be political grandstanding rather than sensible law enforcement.

Miami Herald Editorial Board: “DREAMers’ hope for amnesty is in danger”:

DREAMers were brought to the United States as children by parents who entered illegally. These kids grew up on hamburgers and Harry Potter and iPhones, but they now are young adults without proper legal papers. More than 800,000 registered since 2012 under DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals approved by former President Obama.

Today, registering for the program may lead to their deportation as, again, Trump’s actions runs counter to all this nation stands for.

The possible end of DACA is a clear sign that not only dangerous criminals, but any undocumented immigrant, even those the law-abiding and ambitious, is eligible for deportation.

Many DREAMers are in high school, eager to legally pursue the American Dream in college or through military service.

The sobering signal from the White House comes as Graham and Durbin planned to re-introduce a version of the long-stalled legislation as early as Thursday. The legislation would have given the DREAMers a life-line, as they stand to lose their protected status because of a court challenge from Texas and nine other states.

After his election, and as recently as last week, Trump said he wanted to “work something out” for the DREAMers. Aboard Air Force One, talking with reporters en route to Paris, the president said he was still conflicted over what to do about DACA.

And now it seems the DREAMers will likely lose their legal protection from deportation. The Trump administration has until Sept. 5 to decide whether to rescind the program or face a court challenge by the states.

President Trump should reconsider. The DREAMers should not be casualties in his push to keep his promises and to eliminate all things Obama. Work something out.

Arizona Republic columnist Linda Valdez: “Does this new, bipartisan Dream Act stand a chance?”:

DACA is under assault by a group of Republican elected officials led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who says he’ll take President Trump to court if he doesn’t rescind DACA by Sept. 5.

Imagine having that as a goal. What’s next on their agenda? Kicking a few puppies?

But never mind. We’ll always have opportunists who are willing to sacrifice people for political gain.

For every demagogue willing to go after innocent children, we need the raised voices of those who know better.

Enter Graham and Durbin.

A Republican and a Democrat.

Side by side against a firestorm of partisanship and hatred.

…Let’s stay real here

I don’t want to get carried away. I know these guys are politicians, not saints.

But they are apparently ready to buck a trend of partisanship and meanness.

Offering a permanent solution for dreamers is a welcome reminder of what it feels like to be as gracious and grand as the Statue of Liberty.

It is who we are. Who we are supposed to be in this great big, crazy world. America the beautiful.

If a Republican and Democrat can come together to fight for that, we all have reason to cheer.