Post Classifieds

Trespasses of their parents

Immigrant adult children may be held accountable after decades

By Erich Pilcher
On February 20, 2018

To some, the word “dreamer” insinuates one is a slacker or has unrealistic ideas and goals (being a “dreamer not a doer” or a “daydreamer” comes to mind). To others, it’s a term of endearment representing those who strive and aspire for a better life and future through the merit of hard work.

Especially over the last several months, Americans have heard this description utilized countless times in regards to an important and controversial issue in current politics: immigration to the United States.

From the campaign trail to the Oval Office, the current administration has dialed in on immigration as a top priority and seems to have no issues with causing some waves on either or both sides of the issue. 

A little History

In June 2012, former president Barack Obama signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) into law. Approximately 750,000 illegal immigrants brought here as children were granted amnesty without naturalization requirements to stay in the US.  

In August 2012, enrollment applications began to be accepted and processed, which led to fighting on Capital Hill. Republicans claimed the bill was an abuse of executive power and one year after being signed into law, the House voted to defund the program.  

DACA became funded by its own application fees ($495). The term “dreamers” seemed latch on after the DREAM Act bill was first proposed in 2001 and bipartisan efforts continued to address illegal immigration. Obama wanted to expand coverage of DACA to include other immigrants however states threatened suit and it was blocked by the courts.

The Current Situation

 Current president Donald Trump maintains a hardline stance on immigration. 

The two main points were the building of a border wall with Mexico and repealing DACA. Within six months of Trump’s inauguration, the Department of Homeland Security ceased expansion while continuing to review the entire program. 

On Sept. 5, 2017, Trump announced no new applications would be accepted and this began the rescind DACA while allowing Congress six months to decide whether to grandfather previously eligible individuals. That means the current budget year that is set to end March 6, 2018, becomes vitally important because close to thirty thousand DACA recipients from there and each year thereafter could lose protected status as permits expire, leaving it to be viewed by many a as bargaining chip for a new government spending bill and budget.

Hot Button Issues

Understandably, both sides are frustrated, especially since immigration reform is hardly a new spark of political debate. Some feel a complete overhaul of the system is necessary while others think compassion should top priority.

The inscription at the base of he Statue of Liberty proudly proclaims, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” 

 To many, this phrase should be taken literally while to others, it’s simply a reminder of American history when people fled their homelands in pursuit of happiness and freedom. 

One side argues that our country cannot afford to take on a mass number of citizens while the other inquires how it is fair or humane to punish those brought here as children without a choice or legal responsibility for themselves.  

Now that those children are grown, families are facing being forced to deal with the many effects of government actions, including separation due to deportation. These are issues of great social and conscience awareness and should never be considered an issue of party lines. 

Illegal immigration and reform has been a hot button issue for many years over multiple presidents. Both parties struggle to find a solution and coming to a compromise has proven to be very difficult. 

The reality is a hard to swallow truth- our government and ultimately America, has failed these individuals. 

When signed into law, DACA granted amnesty to those protected by it. That in and of itself is a slippery slope because it’s often thought of as a “free pass” with numerous benefits that cannot typically be challenge, changed or revoked.   

Though stipulations are associated to obtaining DACA protection, amnesty is a convoluted topic to say the least and ultimately is defined and either accepted or protested in the eye of the beholder.  

The bill was an attempt to show the American people the administration was at least trying to work together to address illegal immigration and for lack of a better analogy, managed to put a Band-Aid on a bullet hole.  

While immigration undoubtedly has been and always will be a delicate matter, there are many who believe the measures taken by the current administration are harsh and unfair for those that affected, and power has shifted to those who aim to make massive impacting reform that can hurt hundreds of thousands of people in the process.  

In addition, there are those who are standing by their party and aren’t open minded to budging on stances or opinions, which makes a bipartisan effort towards resolution difficult to achieve.

A Proposed Solution

Like others, this journalist has a hard time claiming party allegiance with regards to immigration and as previously stated, bipartisan cooperation is proving to be easier said than done. 

After evaluation of this topic, here is a proposed solution in a few steps: 

First, let’s be entirely rid of DACA, work and student visas, refugee status, etc. If one desires to be an American and has a clean criminal record, then we as Americans should welcome them with open arms.  

Second, streamline and simplify the application process, lower associated fees and eliminate the need for lawyers. 

According to ABC News, it can take a family of four an average of $15,000 to become naturalized citizens. With a price tag that high and many hoops to jump through, is it any wonder why people come here illegally? 

Third, get rid of the naturalization test. Before writing this article, I thought it wise to take the test that is required of immigrants to become a citizen and I must admit that I did not pass.

 If someone who was born and raised in the US and is considered reasonably intelligent (depending on who you ask) couldn’t pass, then how can we expect those not from this country to pass the test?  

Fourth, instead of variations and separated statuses on green cards, let’s have only one: permanent resident. 

If one becomes naturalized, then that individual is given a green card confirming permanent citizenship and it’s a simple as that. 

The final point is more of a question of how to solve the conflict. The proposed solution here is simple: do not go after those impacted by this rift in our culture. Since new applications are not currently being taken, the program has essentially ended and will mean harsh adverse effects to current recipients in the very near future. 

Full documentation is already achieved with DACA, so why not just leave well enough be and convert to full citizenship status? 

Human lives, immigrants or not, should never be used to gain political advantage, push agendas or sway decisions, and protecting one another as neighbors should be a top priority instead of a debate. 

Almost one million people who have spent practically their entire lives in the US are at risk of losing everything they’ve ever known, yet they have done nothing wrong to deserve this kind of treatment. 

They’ve been functioning members of our society for years- shame on politicians and anyone of voting age should we allow these people to befall such pain and suffering when it can be prevented if we work together to do what’s right for people, not party.

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