Voters said no to extremism and yes to the dreamers

The message voters conveyed to their elected leaders in the Midterms is clear: ‘No’ to MAGA extremism, ‘Yes’ to pragmatic political solutions. In the lame duck session of Congress, our elected leaders have a golden opportunity — and face a tight schedule — to respond to that cry and forge bipartisan solutions to our broken immigration system.

The heart of such a legislative package? Create a path to citizenship for dreamers—young undocumented immigrants who came to America at the average age of 6, now average 27, and are American in everything but the paperwork.

Therefore, action before the end of the year is essential. DACA, a very successful and hugely popular program protecting over 600,000 dreamers, is hanging by a legal thread. Trumpified federal courts, including the Supreme Court, are preparing to end DACA as early as next year. The Biden administration has very limited executive action powers because of these court decisions, despite multiple attempts to strengthen the program. And if the GOP takes control of the House of Representatives next year, as expected, hardline leaders have promised to oppose any DACA deal.

The only viable way to a solution? For Senate Democrats and Republicans to reach an agreement that focuses on DACA and Dreamers and include them in the budget bill that needs to be passed by the end of the year. It’s no exaggeration to say that if America wants to protect dreamers, it’s now or never.

It didn’t have to be like this.

Former President Obama introduced DACA by executive action in 2012. Since then, over 800,000 young people have been protected from deportation and given work permits to continue their studies and careers. CEOs of major Fortune 500 companies call for action to protect DACA and Dreamers. They are alarmed that labor shortages will worsen for the United States as hundreds of thousands of critical workers are forced from their jobs.

Dreamers are serving on the front lines of the pandemic response. They are doctors, nurses, first responders, soldiers, students, entrepreneurs and small business owners. They pay billions in federal, state, and local taxes. They are our neighbors, our friends, our loved ones.

Unfortunately, Republicans have opposed it since DACA began. They blocked immigration reform legislation in Congress and went to court to end DACA. In fact, they provided the same playbook they used Roe v. calf: appoint conservative judges; finding favorable dishes to advance their political agenda; force a fight all the way to a conservative Supreme Court to achieve the desired outcome.

People take part in a protest in support of DACA
People attend a protest in support of DACA in Foley Square on August 17, 2021 in New York.
KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images

Consequently, there is only one way forward. What is needed is for a few brave Senate Republicans, many of whom have said they could support protecting dreamers in the past, to join the Democrats to save the day.

If they do, the nation will rejoice. By more than a 2-to-1 margin (68 percent to 32 percent), Americans of all races and ethnic groups want Congress to adopt protections for dreamers in the lame duck (this is based on an election poll of 12,500 voters). Support for legislation protecting dreamers is overwhelming among Latino voters in battleground states: Texas (82 percent), Pennsylvania (79 percent), Arizona (83 percent), Nevada (77 percent), Florida (78 percent), Colorado (80 percent) Percent). ), North Carolina (84 percent), and Georgia (87 percent).

The other option – kowtowing to extremism – is a loser. Majorities of white voters (52 percent), black (73 percent) and Hispanic voters (67 percent) say they are concerned about extreme Republicans who refuse to condemn white nationalists and extremists who promote hatred and attacks against minorities and encourage immigrants.

Unless the GOP changes direction, its identification with diehard xenophobia will continue to be a major stumbling block for Republicans determined to garner more Latino support in 2024. We know Senate Democrats want a deal, and we will do our part to ensure they act urgently. In fact, Senate Democrats have made it clear that they want to accommodate Republicans on their border concerns.

The moment of truth — for dreamers and for an America that wants Congress to formally recognize dreamers as the Americans they already are — is upon us. It’s time for sane Republicans in the Senate to break away from the extremism of the far right and join the clear majority of Americans on this issue.

A breakthrough is urgently needed and immediately feasible. It is up to the leaders of both parties to seize the opportunity.

Sergio Gonzales is the Executive Director of the Immigration Hub.

Maria Teresa Kumar is the CEO of Voto Latino.

The views expressed in this article are the authors’ own. Voters said no to extremism and yes to the dreamers

Rick Schindler

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