Last Friday night, just before 10 p.m., our congressman, Rep. Tom Reed, voted to send the dreamers home.
Who are the dreamers? They are young immigrants brought here by their parents as children. They have learned English. They have been going to school. Some have joined the military They are fully integrated into American society. As President Obama puts it, “They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.”
In June 2012, despairing of any congressional action on immigration, the President launched the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which has deferred deportation proceedings for 587,000 dreamers. These are young people brought to the United States before their sixteenth birthday and who were under 31 as of June 15, 2012. They must have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007. To win DACA status, these young people had to show that they were in school or high school graduates, or honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces.
These are the people Rep. Reed would send home — more than half a million educated young men and women of working age who would otherwise be contributing to the U.S. economy and paying taxes — Social Security taxes not least among them.
Rep. Louis Gutierrez (D-IL) had this to say: “Only cowards scapegoat children, and only those who are ashamed of themselves do it after hours on a Friday night.”