Washington, DC – Earlier this month, the 5th Circuit ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was unlawful, but sent the case back to the lower court and the anti-DACA Judge Andrew Hanen instead of killing it outright at this moment. For now, thankfully, those with DACA can retain and renew their status. But there should be no mistaking the implications of the ruling and the larger context and motivations of the Republican Party that has sought to undermine and end DACA for a decade.
Now, opinion and editorial voices from an array of states and perspectives are weighing in, stating that Congress must finally deliver on an overdue legislative solution for Dreamers in the face of the demonstrated threat and implications of the latest GOP-led attacks on DACA. Among the voices calling on Congress to act:
- Indianapolis Star op-ed by Greg Zoeller, Indiana’s former attorney general, “With thousands of Dreamers at risk of deportation, Indiana’s economy could worsen.” Zoeller writes, “Congress must seize upon the urgency of the moment and deliver long needed immigration reform that provides relief to American people and businesses and supports the Dreamers who make our economy strong … By passing a solution for Dreamers that provides a pathway for them to become legal citizens, we recognize the numerous ways they have already been full participants in our economy and, in the spirit of Hoosier hospitality, welcome their continued contributions for years to come.”
- Dallas Morning News op-ed By Juan Carlos Cerda, “Congress, stop playing with the lives of Dreamers.” Cerda writes, “The vast majority of the DACA-eligible population, 81.4%, have graduated from high school and taken a college course. More than 454,000 Dreamers are currently enrolled in college and universities nationwide. Companies and business owners desperately need the talent of Dreamers, but we need to pass bipartisan legislation that provides a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and Dreamers who cannot access DACA.”
- Las Vegas Review Journal Editorial, “Time is now for Congress to act on DACA.” “Unconstitutional acts don’t become constitutional because you like the results. That’s why Congress, not the president, needs to give legal status to illegal immigrants brought here as children… Giving DACA recipients permanent legal status is compassionate, fully justified and supported by the vast majority of Americans. Congress should act to do precisely that before the court strikes this program down.”
- The Nation op-ed by Teresa Mettela, “With DACA in Jeopardy, It’s Time for Congress to Act.” Metellea writes, “The United States is often described as a nation of immigrants, but the lack of urgency in Congress belies this history. “It’s imperative for Congress to act and enact bipartisan change that makes our country more prosperous by allowing all young people who grow up here to stay and contribute,” said Dip Patel, founder and president of Improve the Dream. Instead, lawmakers and the courts continue to put the future of DACA protections—and the safety of the undocumented community—in jeopardy. “The Fifth Circuit court decision shows that so many DACA recipients’ lives continue to be in limbo and are in danger of losing the temporary protections they were afforded. This should create urgency in Congress to act.”
- Rio Grande Guardian op-ed by America’s Voice Texas-based Campaigns Manager Mario Carrillo, “When It Comes to Fate of Dreamers, Which Side Are GOP Congressional Candidates On?” Carillo writes, “DACA recipients and their families cannot go on living court ruling to court ruling. This November, we will vote to protect our freedoms. Unless Republican candidates actively and publicly stand up to their friends, they too are responsible for Trump Republicans’ dangerous and racist rhetoric. It is time Texas border GOP congressional candidates Monica De La Cruz, Mayra Flores and Cassy Garcia come clean and tell Texas voters which side they are on.”
According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:
It’s been 10 years since DACA recipients have been living in limbo, not knowing whether they can finally feel free. Finding a permanent solution for DACA recipients is both good policy, good politics and in line with American values. What are we waiting for?
The prospect of long-term DACA employees, including teachers, nurses and essential workers, being forced to relinquish jobs and careers or even remove themselves from the nation should motivate Congress before year’s end to pass achievable legislative fixes. While Republican elected officials’ hostility to DACA has led the country to this moment of peril for Dreamers, Republican voters demonstrate consistently high levels of support for Dreamers. Even in Texas, the lead state in the lawsuit threatening DACA, GOP voters supported legal status for Dreamers by a 48-40% margin in a recent state poll.
It’s a moment of truth for the GOP moderates who offer rhetorical support for Dreamers and a larger test about the will and basic functioning of Congress. Given what’s at stake, they need to find a way to overcome the obstructionists who always find excuses to delay action and deliver a long overdue fix for Dreamers this year.