Dreamers are undocumented immigrants brought to the United States by their parents when they were children. At worst, they’re victims of their parent’s actions not their own.
It is not true that Dreamers are criminals and are involved in criminal acts. One element of a crime is Mens Rea (Criminal Intent). Since these people were brought here by their parents they cannot be charged or convicted of illegal entry into the country.
There are over 800,000 Dreamers. These are people who came out from under the shadow and took advantage of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) implemented by President Obama in 2012. It is a federal government program that allows Dreamers the temporary right to live, study and work in America. Those applying are vetted for any criminal history or threat to national security and must be students or have completed school or military service. If they pass vetting, action to deport them is deferred for two years, with a chance to renew, and they become eligible for basics like a driving license, college enrollment or a work permit.
During his campaign Donald Trump met with Dreamers two years ago and stated on the record “You convinced me.” He agreed they were brought here and since they were vetted and cleared of criminal wrong-doing and continued to follow the rules established under DACA they should be allowed to remain in the country.
When Trump broke his promise to the Dreamers and cancelled DACA, new applications were no longer accepted. As a result those in the program, their legal status (such as to work and attend college) will begin expiring in March 2018. Trump stated he wanted Congress to pass legislation allowing a new channel for temporary or permanent legal immigration status. He stated he supported such legislation by Congress to protect the Dreamers
Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress stated support of presenting legislation to protect the Dreamers. However the Democrats have been unable to get Republicans who control Congress to allow legislation to be debated and voted on for approval.
83% of the nation support Congress passing legislation to protect the Dreamers and not deport them. Only 13% of the nation believes Dreamers should be deported. In fact a majority of Republicans agree that Dreamers who abide by the rules established under DACA should remain in the country and not be deported as promised.
Several bipartisan bills have been developed to protect the Dreamers. Trump even expressed support for one. However, after getting backlash from racists within his base and immigration hardliners like Tom Cotton, David Perdue and his own Chief of Staff John Kelly Trump reversed his public support to protect the Dreamers.
The current Government Shutdown is primarily due to Congress failing to keep it’s promise to the nation to legislate protection for the Dreamers. It is noted that the Ninth Circuit Court has stayed Trump’s rescission of DACA. Because protection for the Dreamers wasn’t part of the Continuing Resolution, Democrats refused to all cloture in the Senate to pass the CR. Democratic Senators were under pressure from their constituents to include Republicans and Independents to push the issue of protecting the Dreamers.
In much the same was as disinformation over important issues was created in Russia and spread in the United States by gullible if not racist conservatives during the 2016 election (Fake News), information is now circulating that Dreamers are involved in criminal activity in the United States to include rape and murder and have been throughout their stay here. No evidence backs up this outlandish claim. Remember, all 800,000 Dreamers have been and continue to be vetted for criminal activity. If they are found to violate the provisions established by DACA they are rightfully deported.
To summarize, as children these immigrants were brought to this country by their parents to no fault of their own. As they grew up they had no documentation saying they could stay or work in this country and lived under the shadows. Because the Republican Congress wouldn’t act on Comprehensive Immigration Reform (mostly because of pressure from racists in their base) President Obama did what was within his rights to implement DACA via Executive Order to allow these immigrants, providing they remained law abiding, to stay and work in this country until such time as they could establish citizenship. It was the right and moral thing to do and it worked. Trump stated he didn’t like the Executive Order process by Obama and rescinded DACA, but called for Congress to protect the Dreamers via legislation he would sign. During this past year, despite it being a major campaign issue, neither Trump nor the Republican controlled Congress has debated Comprehensive Immigration Legislation that would include a wall and protection for the Dreamers. The racist voices in the GOP base have been too loud and Speaker Ryan, Majority Leader McConnell, and President Trump have been too cowardly or complicit in their base’s bigotry to seriously address this issue as promised.
This is not the fault of the Dreamers or those who stand with them, it’s the fault of bigots and those afraid to stand up to them.