Congress Must Act Immediately to Protect Our ‘Dreamers’
The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) strongly condemns the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Cloaked in rhetoric about “executive overreach” and “respect for the rule of law,” the administration’s decision puts nearly 800,000 young people—who were brought to the United States as children and are now young adults working or in school—back into limbo. This decision is inhumane and cruel, and is at odds with the best in American values and history.
This decision, along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ press statement about it, reflects an ugly anti-immigrant mindset. In his remarks, Sessions repeatedly linked undocumented immigrants, and by extension the “Dreamers” affected by this decision, to “crime, violence, and extremism,” and suggested that “American jobs” were being taken by immigrants. These falsehoods are part of a continuing and orchestrated effort by major figures in the Trump administration, often including the president himself, to build political support by focusing resentments on immigrants, and implementing cruel and draconian policies. The dots are now increasingly connected: At its core, President Trump’s agenda is built on stirring vicious anti-immigrant sentiment.
The United States is a nation of immigrants, from those who recently arrived to those many generations deep, but Trump’s policies have the potential to sow racial and ethnic divides in the country and hemisphere for decades to come. We must start by speaking out and then work together to combat the dangerous premise of division and animosity upon which our nation’s highest leader is attempting to push his agenda.
Most immediately, Congress must act to provide protections for the young people whose lives will be disrupted and endangered. The future of the “Dreamers” should not be used as a bargaining chip to enact other aspects of the Trump administration’s draconian anti-immigrant agenda.
WOLA will continue to tirelessly work to defend the rights of migrants—from addressing the conditions that force migrants to flee their home countries, to the dangers they face in their journey north, to the treatment they receive in the United States. And we will denounce hate, cruelty, and xenophobia when we see it, like in this case.