OPINION: Trump’s Cruel Order
By Claire Levy
Less than one month ago, Colorado Center on Law and Policy issued a statement decrying the animus behind the violence in Charlottesville. The abdication of moral leadership from President Donald Trump caused CCLP and countless others to condemn, in the name of basic decency, the racism and antisemitism on display in the streets.
Once again, a moral vacuum compels a response. This time to the heartless action of President Trump in throwing the futures of over 17,000 young Coloradans and hundreds of thousands of others across this country into turmoil and subjecting their fate to the uncertainty of whether Congress is able, at long last, to do what is right and just and good.
What should become of the Dreamers is not a complex or difficult issue. Thousands of children have come to the United States of America with their parents — many of them before they could even talk — and they now attend school, serve in our armed forces and in public safety jobs, or work in essential roles in our communities. Many of their parents fled violence, poverty or political repression. To find a better life, they left their native countries and, in many cases, they left extended families, cultural heritage, and all that is familiar. They have endured indignities and the isolation of not speaking the dominant language and being allowed to participate fully in civic life. They came nevertheless so that their children could have a better future.
Years have passed with promises of Congressional action, years in which those with the power to allow these children to emerge from the shadows and succeed have expressed compassion and good intentions yet failed to act. Generations have already grown up and have been stymied in their ability to achieve their innate potential because of the lack of legal status. Many careers of innocent children have been thwarted because of the political impasse.
Had President Obama not created the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), how many more generations of children would have had to grow up unable to work legally, subject to exploitation with their futures stunted while Congress continued to dither? The Executive Action that created DACA was the product of this impasse and at last allowed futures to blossom.
In creating DACA, our government said to hundreds of thousands of young people, “Trust in your government. Give us your names. Tell us who you are and you will be able to live your dreams.” Almost 800,000 did so. No doubt many thousands of others chose not to trust such a slender thread as presidential action and continue to live in the shadows.
Now all is in doubt.
There is no need to recite the stories of those who have proven what they are capable of… the facts and figures about the number of jobs held, taxes paid, and income generated… the statements of legions of economists and business leaders calling for this educated, motivated labor pool… or the tales of sacrifice these young people have already made in service to our country. As compelling as all of that is, I am speaking out in the name of CCLP because of the moral depravity of the President’s action.
I am heartened that Colorado’s Senators and members of the House of Representatives from both parties have called for action — perhaps a more permanent legislative solution for these Dreamers.
Now is the time to rise to the occasion and provide a genuine path to citizenship for all the children who were brought to this country by their parents in search of a better life.
Claire Levy is Executive Director of Colorado Center on Law and Policy.