EDITORIAL: Time for Coffman, Gardner, the rest of the GOP to make good on DACA promises


The moment of truth has arrived for those in Congress long professing to see the problem of so-called Dreamers solved because it’s undeniably the right thing to do.

The heroic but ill-fated efforts of Senate Democrats to force a solution for immigrants put at risk by President Donald Trump’s attack on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals system was not a net loss for DACA warriors.

Former President Barack Obama compelled the country onto a path of common sense and decency in 2012 when he imposed the DACA measure  by executive order. The program gives children raised in the United States, brought here by their undocumented parents, a reprieve from the threat of deportation.

Obama imposed the awkward rules because a GOP-controlled Congress — held hostage by far-right party extremists —  has, for years, refused to enact realistic immigration reform. While illegal-immigrant adults are still suffering in political purgatory, at least those children who qualify for the DACA program have been shown mercy.

These children have known nothing but life in the United States, and they bear no responsibility for finding themselves in the undocumented affliction they are unfairly punished for.

Because of Obama’s DACA order, hundreds of thousands of children now have the opportunity for education and jobs, helping themselves and their families, and helping all of America.

The outcome of the DACA battle about to begin in Washington affects tens of thousands of children and young adults in Aurora and across the state. Nationally, officials estimate more than 700,000 so-called DACA Dreamers are at risk of being deported if Congress does nothing. Already, as many as 16,000 DACA immigrants have fallen risk to deportation after Trump’s cruel DACA blunder last summer.

Congress has had that long to solve this looming humanitarian crisis, but congressional Republican leaders, complicit with the Trump White House, have stalled a solution.

The logic behind the program is so compelling that even stalwart tea-party type Republicans — who once wailed and railed against DACA as an executive order —  have been falling behind the measure as the right action for Congress.

The hold-up is in the White House. It’s unclear if Trump actually supports a DACA solution or has genuine concern for American Dreamers. He set up this crisis to use the DACA program as a bargaining chip in his own warped war on American immigrants.

Democrats overplayed their hand last week in forcing a government shut-down in hopes of forcing a long-overdue DACA measure into law.

Trump has already signaled that he wants now to extort billions for his ludicrous Mexican border wall and nuke America’s foundational immigration policy for political gain with his small political base.

The battle lines have been drawn. A vast super-majority of Americans and elected Republicans, even notorious anti-immigrant conservatives, have made it clear they want a DACA solution because it’s separate from all other immigration controversy. Like the rest of America, they want a solution because it’s the humane, ethical thing to do. Very soon, Republicans in Congress will be able to demonstrate their honesty and courage on this issue and pass a DACA bill outside of other immigration issues. A super-majority vote can bypass Trump’s sadistic political effort to use DACA children as human collateral for his own gain.

Aurora and all of Colorado are watching Republicans now. This is it for Colorado Republicans like Congressman Mike Coffman and Sen. Cory Gardner. Coffman has had plenty of tough talk about supporting the DACA program as Obama laid it out. Gardner, too, has given the notion plenty of lip service, but he has shown himself to be a loyal party member in other instances where Colorado interests veer from his party’s direction, such as the Affordable Care Act.

Talk all they want, this time their votes will be the definitive word on solving this problem.