They Risked Everything for a Shot at the American Dream. Now, We Must Stand Up and Defend Them.

They Risked Everything for a Shot at the American Dream; Now We Must Stand Up and Defend Them

THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy Kamal Essaheb, NILC director of policy and advocacy
September 7, 2017

This week President Trump shut the door on nearly a million young people, and didn’t even have the courage to face their questions. This callous and immoral decision that requires all of us who choose to be on the right side of history to speak out and let our elected leaders know that this is not the type of country we want to be.

Trump chose to put hundreds of thousands young immigrants across the country in peril by announcing an imminent end to the undeniably successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

For five years, DACA has allowed these youth, often referred to as “dreamers,” to come forward and pursue the same educational, professional and life opportunities available to anyone who grew up in the U.S. It is up to all of us to ensure that these protections remain in place. We must continue to raise our voices and tell our representatives in Congress to swiftly pass the Dream Act of 2017.

This is a defining moment for our country. Trump again gave in to his anti-immigrant advisors and base, putting politics above people—hate over reason. He chose to pull the rug out from under nearly a million people who are working, studying and contributing to their communities. In doing so, he is putting their families, their livelihood and their sense of security and belonging in this country at stake.

Trump’s decision to end DACA is the latest in an abhorrent pattern of immoral and, in many cases, unlawful attacks on immigrants, communities of color, and other disenfranchised Americans. Following his comments on Charlottesville and the pardoning of Joe Arpaio, Trump has again made it clear that white supremacists have their greatest ally in the White House. We cannot let this disgusting vision for America’s future to prevail.

Faced with yet another unconscionable act by Trump, we are ready to fight with the brave young people and allies who fought for and won DACA. But we are much stronger when people from all walks of life get involved. Whether you’re a teacher, nurse, coach, or a local leader, now is the time to stand side by side with dreamers and up for what’s right.

DACA recipients did everything we asked them to do. They voluntarily came forward, provided information, paid a fee and went through background checks. They relied on a promise by the federal government to allow them to live and work here, and keep their information safe. We must all keep the government from reneging on that promise. And we must not allow Trump to use the lives of these young people to advance his own agenda.