Editorial: Protection for ‘Dreamers’

These youths have taken charge in the struggle for justice for immigration
Editorial: Protection for ‘Dreamers’
Los dreamers se mantienen firmes en su lucha migratoria.
Foto: Mariela Lombard / Archivo/EDLP

“Dreamers” are the innocent victims in the immigration debate. These young people pay a price for a decision they never made: Their parents brought them into this country without documentation. Far from resigning to the unfair situation of, simultaneously, feeling part of this country and being rejected by it, they have become the representatives of the cause for immigration reform in recent years.

The DAPA executive action taken by President Barack Obama’s government to protect these youths from deportation took the weight off the shoulders of hundreds of thousands of them who were studying to become a vital and useful part of our society. It took Obama’s reelection, as well as a record numbers of deportees, before the expulsion to their supposed countries of origin, which were foreign to them, was halted.

The White House’s intervention four years ago was necessary due to the failure to pass the bill known as the Dream Act, which granted permanent residency to eligible children and teenagers brought into the U.S. from abroad. The measure, which initially had Republican support, was turned into a piñata by the House of Representatives, who voted repeatedly for the deportation of all Dreamers.

The fact that Republican presidential hopefuls shared a promise to strike down Obama’s executive action was another example of the type of ideological zeal that impedes distinguishing the differences between immigrants. Stereotyping prevents them from recognizing the reality of a youth that wants to be part of this nation by becoming professionals or serving in the Armed Forces.

Precisely now, the House is debating an amendment to the Department of Defense’s budget to eliminate the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program, which allows DACA beneficiaries with extensive knowledge of languages and medical skills to join the Army. This proposal is a loss for our nation.

Still, “Dreamers” have never given up. In the face of these obstacles, their numbers and visibility have multiplied, and they have become the vanguard of the struggle to defend themselves and their undocumented parents. Today, they are the combatants of a fight linked to the historic civil rights movement, this time to prevent their families from being separated and to have the contributions of immigrants acknowledged through legalization.