The Post editorial: Congress should follow the president’s lead and do the right thing by almost 750,000 Dreamers.»
President Donald Trump has done the right thing for the hundreds of thousands of America’s undocumented youth who willingly came out of the shadows to receive Obama-era deportation protections. Now it’s critical that Congress follow suit.
Trump pledged early in his tenure as president not to revoke the temporary deferred deportation or legal work status these childhood arrivals obtained under President Barack Obama’s executive order beginning in 2012. Trump has stayed true to that promise. His administration has issued new or renewed 200,000 deferred action applications since he has been in office.
But Trump is about to be put in a political squeeze by 10 Republican attorneys general who are threatening to file suit challenging the constitutionality of Obama’s order — unless Trump revokes the order by Sept. 5. Such a legal challenge would have to be defended by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who would be an unlikely champion for the cause.
Now Congress has the urgent opportunity to follow the president’s lead and do the right thing by almost 750,000 Dreamers — named after the DREAM Act — who are in limbo as they wait to see whether they will be punished for willingly giving the federal government their information in exchange for a chance to pursue the American dream.
U.S. Reps. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Mike Coffman, R-Colo., are among the bipartisan group working on bills that could extend Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for several years. On Wednesday, Polis joined other top Democrats from Colorado in calling for a reprieve for this generation of kids who arrived in the United States illegally through no fault of their own.
What that reprieve looks like will take compromise, but Congress must act quickly.
Under DACA, the Department of Homeland Security verifies and vets applicants under the age of 36 who came to the United States before they had turned 16, have lived in the U.S. continuously for five years, are in school or have recently graduated and have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more misdemeanors.
The legal status is only good for two years and must be renewed.
The conflict is whether to grant this narrow segment of the undocumented population permanent legal status. We unequivocally think Congress should. Still, granting that status would create obvious political challenges for many Republicans, so we hope Democrats are willing to compromise on this issue to provide relief.
Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., has introduced the Recognizing American Children Act that would give DACA recipients a five-year reprieve from deportation. It can be made permanent after five years under strict education, military service or employment conditions.
This bill strikes us as a good compromise, predicated upon the child arriving in the United States before 2010, a move that prevents incentivizing people to come here illegally or overstay their visas with the promise that their children can get legal status.
Such a fix addresses the reality that millions have come here illegally with children, many of whom have worked hard with the ultimate goal of leading productive lives as Americans. They did right by American expectations. America should return them the favor. The members of The Denver Post’s editorial board are William Dean Singleton, chairman; Mac Tully, CEO and publisher; Chuck Plunkett, editor of the editorial pages; Megan Schrader, editorial writer; and Cohen Peart, opinion editor.