A Year after DACA

We must give the DREAMers security and keep families together

By La Opini??n Editorial Staff
Published on LatinoLA: August 15, 2013

A Year after DACA

Originally published at Republished by permission.

A year ago, hundreds of thousands of young people felt the relief of no longer having to live under the constant threat of deportation. They would no longer be excluded from the opportunities society affords in the only country they know, the one they consider their home.

The problem is that the peace of mind that the Obama administration gave them with its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy has a two-year time limit. It temporarily corrects a situation that requires a permanent solution, so more than half a million applicants can have the security they need to plan their futures and progress, in order to become productive contributors to this nation.

The cause of the DREAMers, brought to the United States illegally by their parents, is a popular one. And rightly so; if someone is not responsible for their own immigration situation, it is them.

However, there are many like Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), whose disdain for undocumented immigrants prevents him from differentiating these youths from drug mules. The worst part of King's hateful rhetoric is that it is popular enough in the House of Representatives that a few months ago, the chamber approved cutting all funding to implement DACA.

On the other hand, there is an effort in the Republican wing of the House in favor of legislation known as the KIDS Act, which would grant legalization, although it is more restrictive than the Senate-approved bill. The Republican narrative on the immigration issue implies that this is more than a political reaction to the popular antagonism caused by the hard line on immigration, that it involves the conviction of doing something fair and reasonable.

Therefore, KIDS is supposed to satisfy the legalization concerns of undocumented immigrants, even though it excludes millions of people, among them parents and families.

Some people resent the fact that the DREAMers have such a high profile--and even question why only now, in the middle of the immigration debate, are they defending their parents. These complaints about DACA's beneficiaries do not change the reality everyone knows, that legalizing children and not their parents will result in splitting up families.

Immigration is a complex issue, with many points of view that fit into an intricate puzzle. The human aspect can't be discarded like cold numbers or statistics. The DREAMers put a face to one of the injustices of the existing immigration system. What is reasonable is correcting those aspects with comprehensive reform instead of worsening them by imposing a bigger injustice on the family unit.

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