The Post ed­i­to­rial: Congress should fol­low the pres­i­dent’s lead and do the right thing by al­most 750,000 Dreamers.»

The Denver Post - - NEWS -

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.

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