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Momentum Continues in Support of Dreamers: Former Acting ICE Director Sandweg, Ed Boards in FL and SC

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Editorial boards and expert observers continue to speak out on behalf of DACA and Dreamers.

Writing in The Hill, former ICE Acting Director John Sandweg makes a compelling case for why DACA is smart, legal, and beneficial to America – including by allowing enforcement to target actual public safety threats and not Dreamers. And editorials in the Charleston Post & Courier and the Orlando Sentinel make the case for why we all should support Dreamers receiving permanent protection and opportunities. We excerpt the pieces below:

Former Acting ICE Director John Sandweg in The Hill, “Eliminating DACA program will only clog immigration enforcement”:

Rarely did any new policy or program make as much sense as DACA. Not only did it provide an opportunity for young people, who have known no other home but America, to step out of the shadows and obtain work authorization card, it also made our efforts to focus immigration enforcement resources on those who threaten public safety more efficient.

Making these youngsters ineligible for deportation made the work of our officers and agents easier and helped ensure that our limited enforcement resources were focused on the worst first … Nothing about the use of deferred action to streamline our enforcement capabilities was unusual or without precedent. The program was built on a strong legal foundation. Long before the creation of DACA, ICE and other DHS agencies routinely used deferred action to delay or set aside the potential that an individual would be deported. The legal framework for DACA was established years earlier and federal courts consistently emphasized that DHS held broad discretion to determine how best to enforce the immigration laws.

…While the Trump administration deserves credit for its initial decision to allow DACA to continue, it must defend the program against any legal challenges. The legal basis upon which this program was built is strong and courts have already dismissed earlier suits that attempted to eliminate the program.

Elimination of this program would do nothing to bolster immigration enforcement. It would not make our borders more secure, nor would it make our streets any safer. In fact, elimination would only hurt the enforcement system, further clogging the overwhelmed immigration courts, while making the already difficult lives of these hard-working young men and women more difficult. Of course, those who oppose this program are not concerned with good policy. Sadly, opposition stems from the politics of immigration which far too often force us to adopt nonsensical policies and programs.

The young people that took to the streets that day in 2012 were right to celebrate. It is rare to find a policy that simultaneously enhances immigration enforcement while also helping a deserving population. DACA does that. I hope that the Trump administration finds a way to defy the forces of immigration politics, vigorously defend the program, and keep providing a small opportunity for a deserving group to get a little closer to their dreams of becoming Americans.

Orlando Sentinel editorial, “Pass bipartisan bill to protect Dreamers from deportation and bolster U.S. economy”

While Trump vowed during his campaign to scrap DACA, he has sent mixed signals on the issue since taking office. But a threat from 10 state attorneys general — Florida’s Pam Bondi is not among them — to file a lawsuit as soon as next month to overturn it could force the president’s hand. Former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he personally supports the program but has been advised by lawyers that the order behind it is illegal. Kelly became the president’s chief of staff this week.

That makes it more important than ever for Congress to pass, and the president to sign, legislation that will remove the threat of deportation from Dreamers, so they can keep contributing to their families, their communities and their adopted home country.

…Nationwide nearly 800,000 immigrants, including almost 33,000 in Florida, have been granted work permits under DACA. Revoking those permits would cost the U.S. economy $460 billion over a decade, according to FWD.us, an immigration advocacy organization founded by technology industry leaders. In Florida alone, loss of the work permits would cost the state economy $1.5 billion a year, according to FWD.us.

…[several proposed Dreamer bills] would provide a solid legal foundation to maintain protection for Dreamers and their contributions to the Florida and national economies. If he is truly interested in an immigration policy that works for the economy, the president will get behind one or both bills. Leaving productive, law-abiding immigrants — blameless for their illegal entry, and American in all but their paperwork — vulnerable to deportation makes no economic or moral sense.

Charleston (SC) Post and Courier editorial, “Path forward for immigrants”:

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., cares enough about the future of immigrants brought to the United States as children that he’s willing to stake his career on it. “To the people who object to this, I don’t want you to vote for me because I cannot serve you well,” Mr. Graham said … “When they write the history of these times, I’m going to be with these kids,” he continued.

And indeed, it would be misguided to stand against them.

…The current immigration system, characterized by presidential overreach, arbitrary and ineffective rules, and congressional deadlock, isn’t working well for anyone.

Sen. Graham has proposed a sensible way to help protect some of the nation’s most vulnerable immigrants. They deserve a better way forward, and so does this nation’s policy on immigration.