EDITORIAL: 10 years of DACA has shown that American immigrants are Americans


The journey in understanding how the conundrum of children brought the to the United States by undocumented immigrant parents is different from all other immigration dilemma has been too long and too hard won to abandon what is only common sense.

In just a few weeks, arguments for and against the legality of former President Barack Obama’s so-called 2012 “DACA” policy will begin in front of a federal appeals court.

Obama created the program amid great and needless controversy ten years ago this week.

Lawyers will be arguing a case ruling from Texas last year where a federal judge said Obama’s creation of the program for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is illegal.

This comes after a majority of Americans, Democrats and even a large number of Republican leaders agreed that the interests of children brought to the United States as immigrants have no other real home other than the United States rise above the politics of immigration debates.

A 2020 Pew Research poll revealed that 74% of Americans support a DACA program, including 54% of Republicans.

For years, advocates have helped Americans understand these are children caught up in a quagmire of policy and bureaucracy they are powerless to solve or even address.

In almost every case, they know no home other than the United States and they have no home other than here.

Outside of a set of paper credentials, they are no different than any other child born here or naturalized.

Obama wisely stepped around the unwinnable 2012 politics of the moment and created the DACA program by executive action, creating security for millions of American children.

Part of that long, political journey involved tabbing these children as “DREAM-ers” referring to the congressional Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, which has repeatedly failed to pass.

While more and more Americans have understood the plight of these children and how the DREAM Act and DACA have created a palatable solution for even some of the most ardent anti-immigrant lawmakers, extremists have continued to fight.

One of the sorriest moments in U.S. History came during former President Trump’s 2018 State of the Union Address.

“Americans are dreamers, too,” he boasted, preening for the camera and his Republican fans in the House Chamber, even as he said it. He knew the line would play well with his base. 

Immediately, the line was lauded by people who agreed with it, understanding Trump’s slight.

“Thank you President Trump,” Ku Klux Klan wizard David Duke said immediately in a tweet. “Americans are ‘Dreamers’ too.”

Like Trump, Duke and other teams of dedicated racists, nationalists and white supremacists believe that by lending sympathy to the country’s so-called immigrant DREAM-ers, they and the rest of America, get less. Somehow, by providing support to people who have lived here almost their entire lives, documented citizens are cheated out of something.

It makes no sense, even to a growing number of conservatives.

It’s a common theme and misconception among Trump supporters and white nationalists. They believe that if we yield sympathy and support to the Muslims, then Christians are diminished. If we stand behind equal rights for gays and transgender Americans, then straights are cheated out of — something. Minority rights mean majority wrongs in the eyes of so many Trump adherents.

DACA foes don’t understand that the thousands of “DREAM-ers” in Aurora, and hundreds of thousands more across the country, are every bit as American as any of the rest of us. Our Americanism doesn’t come from our credentials. It comes from our community and our allegiance to the notion that all of us are equal.

There has never been a more critical time to legislate the DACA program into permanency.

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Jeff Brown
Jeff Brown
1 month ago

Our abomination of an immigration system is a direct and clear result of our failed duopolistic so-called democracy. Why do we forgive Congress? Shouldn’t both major parties hang their heads in shame and disband? Honestly.

How can we criticize China’s human rights abuses while this collection of issues at our border festers for decades?

Four or five moderate independents in the Senate could accomplish things that our Dem and GOP simply haven’t gotten right on their own. Unfortunately our economy depends on cheap undocumented labor and the oligarchs pulling the duopolistic strings want it that way.

It’s far past time time for Independents to speak up and step in. Red and blue can’t handle the problem, obviously.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
1 month ago

“Dreamers” pose no threat and should not be feared.