The Prowler

Democrats, Put the Dreamers on Your Backs

President Barack Obama shows the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office to a group of DREAMers, Feb. 4, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama shows the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office to a group of DREAMers, Feb. 4, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The White House

The White House

President Barack Obama shows the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office to a group of DREAMers, Feb. 4, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Noam Haykeen, Prowler Columnist

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Back in 2003, living in Haifa, Israel was grim. My father got laid off from work, and my mom wasn’t able to sustain our family on her own. My parents did not know what to do.

The situation didn’t change until my father thought of what seemed like a far-fetched idea: the American dream.

When my father shared his plan with my mother, she didn’t know what to make of it. Our family and friends lived in Israel, and we had never lived elsewhere. She thought long and hard, but eventually recognized that moving would be the right solution, given our finances at the time. We obtained the appropriate visas, packed our possessions, said our farewells, and immigrated to America.

I was powerless in my parents’ decisions. It was simply my good fortune that my father was able to acquire a skilled-worker visa to ensure that we would enter the country legally, and that I would be a legal resident.

And now, as an American citizen, I am grateful to know that I am a part of the country that former-President Ronald Reagan once called a “shining city upon a hill.” It’s an exceptional feeling to realize that America accepted me into its society.

Sadly, President Trump’s decision to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which protects people who immigrated to America illegally as children, undermines those who have a childhood-immigration story similar to mine.

The nearly 800,000 young people that DACA protects, the so-called Dreamers, have faced situations not drastically different from my own. They, too, did not have a choice in migrating here. And they, too, were not in control of their legal status. Unfortunately, their parents were not able to apply for skilled-worker visas.

Punishing DACA recipients for decisions they did not make is inhumane. And deporting them to countries they haven’t lived in since their early childhood is cruel. These Dreamers attend colleges, contribute to America’s economy and live peacefully alongside American citizens.

Fifty one percent of DACA recipients have purchased their own cars. Seventy percent are working toward obtaining a bachelor’s degree or higher. Seventy five percent are employed. And altogether, these Dreamers contribute an annual estimate of $2 billion in local and state taxes. Deporting these people defies common sense, and will only hurt America.

Isabella, a 20-year-old DACA recipient from Los Angeles who is pursuing a B.A. in political science, expressed her fear of being deported, and could not fathom Trump’s reason for wanting her to leave the country. “He’s treating people like me unfairly,” she said. “This is my home. I’ve never committed a crime. All I want to do is contribute to this country, and Trump is taking that away from me.”

Trump’s decision to rescind DACA has caused hundreds of thousands of Dreamers to feel terrified. People like Isabella embody the best of America. She attends college in Los Angeles, has a part-time job, and is vocal in her support of LGBTQ rights. She personifies a role model for American society; she is accepting of all creeds, colors and ethnicities. She deserves a home in America.

Recently, we have seen Trump side with the agenda of Congressional Democrats in an odd shift. For example, when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged him to tweet reassurance to the Dreamers, he did. He also agreed to extend the U.S. debt limit and provide government funding until Dec. 15; both the Republican-majority Senate and House approved this bill.

These occurrences prove that Congressional Democrats are, after all, able to have a voice in the current administration. It is, therefore, vital for Democratic leaders to not only persuade Trump to repeal his termination of DACA, but also to convince him to sign legislation that will provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. Republicans have proved that if the president backs legislation, they will too.

DACA beneficiaries view America as their home. Many of them do not remember living in another country. They deserve better treatment from our government. And so, Democrats should take the responsibility on themselves. Forcing Dreamers back to their native countries is a foolish move on America’s part — economically, culturally and morally.

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Democrats, Put the Dreamers on Your Backs