Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, NY, and a longtime expert on immigration policy, writes a powerful new op-ed in the New York Daily News, titled “Save the Dreamers Before Tackling Immigration Reform.” We excerpt key sections below:
In his State of the Union speech, President Trump outlined what he called a four-pillar plan to reform the nation’s immigration system, including a path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented youth.
But tying the fate of these young people, known as Dreamers, to the three other pillars — overhauling or eliminating the family immigration system and the diversity lottery system, and spending billions more on border security, including a wall — is a recipe for getting nothing done, at least in the short term. What Congress must address immediately is the status of the Dreamers, with a promised Senate vote approaching next week ahead of the March 5 deadline for their deportations.
…the Dreamers, who were brought to this country as children and have never truly known another home, are about to lose their protections in the here and now. If these young people are forced to live under the constant fear of deportation and not given a secure path to citizenship, it would severely weaken the values — fairness, opportunity and freedom — that have made our nation great.
… the essence of the argument for giving these young people an opportunity to become American citizens is not economic but moral … Deporting them to countries they do not know would not only be a tragedy for them, it would be a great loss to our country.
In the end, elected officials are not sent to Washington by their constituents to devise ways to be reelected. They are sent there to lead and serve the common good. At the end of their careers, they will not be judged by their political acumen, but in what they have done to improve the lives of their fellow human beings.
There are times that our elected leaders must act because it is the right thing to do as human beings. This is one of those times.
If the Dreamers are left unprotected, it will leave a stain on our nation’s character for years to come. If we pursue justice and welcome them as full Americans, it would be one of our finest hours.