Rep. Gutierrez and 104 Others Thank President Obama for Protecting DREAMers from Deportation
Rep Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) submitted a letter to President Barack Obama signed by himself and 104 of his colleagues last week, thanking the president for his recent “deferred action” decision which will provide protection from deportation for DREAMers.
In exercising his right to prosecutorial discretion, the president ensured nearly 1 million young DREAMers, who were brought to the US under the age of 16, have lived in the States for 5 consecutive years, are in school, and have a clean criminal record would be allowed to stay in the united States to work and study. Each representative who signed the letter swore to support the President’s decision and recognize it as an important first step towards future efforts to achieve comprehensive immigration reform.
“They are no different from your children or my children. They regularly excel at school – some are valedictorians,” said Rep Gutierrez in a speech on the House floor emphasizing that this decision is protecting individuals who love this country and will contribute to its success going forwards, “They are athletes and musicians and leaders. Many of them want to serve our nation in the military. They are, in every sense of the word – except for the very narrow, exclusive sense promoted by Mr. King and Mr. Romney – outstanding young Americans.”
Millennials across the nation have voiced their support for similar policies. For example, 81 percent of young people said they believe in providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and 64 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds support the DREAM Act.
Conservatives like Rep. Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio) and Gov. Rick Perry (R-Tex), were quick to criticize the President’s decision, likening it to a form of amnesty.
The President’s action as well as the recent Supreme Court decision to (mostly) overturn the Arizona’s infamous anti-immigration legislation SB 1070 represented huge wins for DREAMers.
“It’s simple, really, and the Members of Congress who’ve signed this letter with me today, and the U.S. Supreme Court, and President Obama – and Lamar Smith and dozens of his colleagues just a few years ago – get it,” Gutierrez concluded. “It’s time to leave honest, hard-working immigrants alone. When we do, our law enforcement officials can focus on catching the actual bad guys.”
Nonetheless, for these undocumented young people, there is still a long way to go and many more diplomatic battles yet to be fought until they gain the equal protection and rights that only come with citizenship.