BY STATE SENATOR JAMES SANDERS, JR.
Queens is a great place to visit for many reasons, but among the top ones is its vast mix of cultures and ethnicities. President Trump was born in this borough, right at Jamaica Hospital, on June 14, 1946. It is a tough fact to believe, especially considering the Commander-in- Chief’s anti-immigrant stance, one that he has made clear again earlier this month with the revocation of DACA.
This Obama-era policy known by its full name – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has kept nearly 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from being deported. Donald Trump, the president who promised to make America great again, has effectively killed the American dream for these people.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement on September 4, 2017 that DACA was over and the Department of Homeland Security would immediately stop processing DACA applications. However, the administration did add that it would renew permits for anyone whose status expires in 6 months, a small glimmer of hope for “dreamers.”
I agree with Former President Barack Obama who recently called any threat to the DACA program, “wrong,” “self-defeating,” and “cruel.” President Trump has asked Congress to legalize DACA before the program is phased by March 5, 2018. However, it is unlikely that the federal government will do so even though there has been support on both sides of the isle for similar legislation relating to illegal underage immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents. Such measures have failed to pass.
There are several reasons why DACA could fall flat in Congress – one being that the legislative calendar is packed and there might not be enough time to put it on the agenda. Secondly, the GOP remains fractured over immigration reform, and third, more often than not, the position of legislators are divided along party lines.
There are times to put politics aside and do what is best for the country, and this is one of those times. New York has joined 14 other states and the District of Columbia in filing a federal lawsuit to try to block Trump’s plan to destroy DACA. Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to protect the 30,000 New Yorkers who could be affected by the removal of DACA. Governor Cuomo has expressed similar sentiments.
I stand with my colleagues in government in support of DACA. I am also a long time proponent of the DREAM Act – legislation would help thousands of New Yorkers who only want a fair shot at earning an education and achieving the American Dream.
I think it would do us good to remember at this time the words of the great Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who said: “We may have all come over on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” Let us never forget that we are all part of one race, the human race.