In Illinois, there are over 40,000 immigrant youths who have had protection under DACA. They represent over $2.3 billion of the state’s economy. I mention these numbers not to suggest we should protect Dreamers because they are financially worthwhile; I highlight the numbers to demonstrate the degree to which Dreamers are already integrated in American society. We should not be in the business of turning our backs on people.

People are not reducible to dollar signs or votes or legal statuses; people are people. They are ends in themselves. If you spend any time with Dreamers, you are quick to learn that they stand taller and stronger than any wall President Trump could ever build.

I am a law student at Northwestern University, and my course of study has shown me that the law is not static and indifferent; it is aspirational. If you truly hope for goodness in America, if you truly support our nation’s journey to realize the meaning of liberty, then you will have to stand for Dreamers. It is time for this government to behave as a government of the people, and pass a clean Dream Act with no strings attached.

Charles Isaacs, Bucktown

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Facts seldom speak for themselves 

Mona Charen surprised me with her latest column urging a little humility when it comes to what we claim to know, what we’re sure is true (“Let’s think again, my fellow Americans, we’re so sure we’re right” — Feb. 1). I seldom nod my head reading her columns. But this one was a breath of fresh air and I applaud her for writing it.

There’s reassurance in prescribing to this view or that “fact,” but the comfort that certainty provides is no measure of the truth. The truth may be out there regarding some of the thorniest issues we grapple with, but we simply may not have the ability to get to the truth. In many cases, whatever you think, it’s more complicated than that.

We need to remind ourselves that the facts never speak for themselves. Claiming to know the answer, know what’s true, is far too often just hubris, one of humanity’s least attractive traits.

Jim Morris, Evanston

Rauner out of touch with wants of Illinoisans 

One thing Gov. Rauner said that we can all agree on is that it is time to give the people of Illinois what they want. The problem is that based on his first three years, its doubtful that Rauner has any idea as to what those things are.

Illinois wants a governor who is in a position of leadership and will do whatever he can to benefit the people of the state. We want a governor who doesn’t whine, complain and blame everyone else for whatever doesn’t get done. We want a governor who is willing to work with the legislature to avoid the ridiculous budget impasse of the last two years. We want a governor who supports a livable wage for all people in the state and a governor who doesn’t take credit for phantom accomplishments (Amazon’s second headquarters).

We want a governor who is sensitive to the needs of the elderly and the poor and doesn’t unilaterally slash funding to those most in need. We want a chief executive who proposes a feasible economic plan for the state.

You cannot continually argue to cut income and still promise to increase spending. The list can go on and on but this should certainly provide a place to state.

Daniel Pupo, Orland Park

Congress could learn from a visit to the opera

I was reluctant to watch the State of the Union address Tuesday night because I have been offended, disheartened and alarmed by many of Donald Trump’s actions and reactions during his time in office. But I decided that I should listen and hear his message as a responsible citizen and one who cares about the future of our country and the world.

I was shocked and dismayed by the Congress behaviors, smug looks and a general aura of “who cares” and this unexplained applauding for every couple sentences uttered by the President. Where, but in this arena, would we witness token applause and enthusiasm for every few unimpressive and appearing to be insincere remarks? The entire group causes me to lose faith and confidence in our leader and Congress.

So I am concerned and worried that this is the leadership for our country. Their behavior and false accolades for the President’s remarks further emphasizes real and significant problems. Where else would one witness something like this?

I recently attended the opera and was witness to the most superb vocal talent, and yet — as the audience — we were not standing and cheering after each note, which by the way was phenomenal. No, we listened and absorbed the entire song and appreciatively applauded at the end of a song or scene. I would encourage Congress to watch themselves and the ridiculous false encouragements to empty words that create indifference to the real problems our country faces. I remain discouraged and dismayed.

Christine Malone, Wheeling

Just like in the movies 

TSA should hire Marilyn Hartman, the woman who constantly boards planes illegally. She could teach them how she does it and which areas to monitor. After all, if she can do it, so could a terrorist!

Years ago there was a movie based on a true story called “Catch Me If You Can,” starring Leonardo DiCapprio based on a true story. He ended up helping the FBI on how he was able to forge documents and counterfeit money. Someone needs to turn this around for a positive outcome instead of punishing her — it hasn’t worked.

Judith Reed, Mount Prospect