KADNER: I stand with the children of the American Dream

SHARE KADNER: I stand with the children of the American Dream

Last year, some 42,000 immigrants from Illinois were in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. | Tatiana Flowers/AP

It is simply un-American to deport the children of immigrants brought into this country by their parents more than 10 years ago.

You have probably heard about the DACA program and those who have benefitted from it, sometimes called “Dreamers.”


Created in 2012 by the administration of President Barack Obama, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) covered children brought into this country illegally and gave them a temporary reprieve from deportation to receive permission to work, study and obtain a driver’s license.

They had to be under 31 years of age at the time and they had to prove they had lived in the United States since June 15, 2007. They also had to prove that they had arrived in this country before the age of 16.

They had to prove they had no criminal record. They had to be enrolled in high school or college, or in the military. And they had to renew their status every two years.

In other words, these are people who were under the age of 21, had lived here for at least 10 years, had no criminal record, were enrolled in high school, graduated from high school, went to college or joined the military.

These were people who obeyed the law, but were brought here illegal by their parents as children.

The Obama administration may have overstepped its legal authority by creating DACA, but it was a solution to a problem that needed to be addressed. It was, and is, simply unfair to send these people back to their country of origin to which they have no loyalty, no allegiance and very little knowledge.

Even President Trump has said “we love the Dreamers,” although he stripped them of the protection provided by DACA, saying he would phase out the program.

He has urged Congress to pass a new law protecting these people.

Yet, he is now using them as pawns in his effort to get a border wall built between the U.S. and Mexico.

If Democrats really want to protect the children of illegal immigrants, if they want to make a deal, they must pay for a border wall, which Trump promised during his election campaign.

Of course, Trump also promised that Mexico would pay for that wall.

This is such a rotten proposal, such a dirty deal, that it ought to make real patriots wretch.

I call it un-American because this country is not about building walls. It is about welcoming oppressed people from foreign countries seeking opportunities and freedoms denied them elsewhere.

I know there are millions of Americans who react angrily whenever they see the flag abused by protestors. But what is it that flag represents? Every nation has a flag. People everywhere have died in battle under their flags, to protect their homelands and their political systems.

We are different because our flag represents something different. It represents tolerance, fair play and a willingness to risk everything to protect the weak and the vulnerable. It is not just a collection of laws, but a sense of morality that has time and again resulted in Americans rewriting their laws to embrace what is right over that which is wrong.

It is wrong to deport these children of immigrants who represent, as a group, what is great about our country.

They have done nothing wrong. We are about to do something very wrong.

And we know it. Even our president knows it. He just wants to cut a political deal so he can get money to build a wall.

That suggestion covers us all in fecal matter.

Our country is better than this. There are moments in time that ultimately define a nation and what it represents. This is one of those.

I stand with the Dreamers because they represent the greatness of my country.

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