Op-ed: In defense of the DREAM Act

Rick Bowmer, AP

This March 21, 2017, photo, people look on during a training event to make sure refugees and immigrants understand their rights under President Donald Trump’s travel ban and refugee program suspension, in Salt Lake City. The refugee advocacy group says since Trump’s first order was signed it has received hundreds of questions from refugees and immigrants who are worried about being deported.

Immigration laws and policies have often shifted throughout the history of this country, always revealing something about our priorities and collective psyche. Regardless of political affiliation, most U.S. citizens want some basic things from our current immigration policies: protection of national security interests; fairness in theory and application; a sense of order that creates predictability and consistency; policies that strengthen our national economic and social standing in the world; and (at least for most) a continuing commitment to compassion for those individuals and families “yearning to breathe free.”

Despite the near universal appeal of these guiding principles, current immigration enforcement policies are systematically having the opposite effects. Instead of focusing on removing dangerous criminals from our communities, the Trump administration has directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to spend limited time and resources deporting people with no criminal records, often mothers and fathers of young families, who have consistently met their obligations to periodically check in with ICE. This does not make our country safer.

In fact, instead of actually working to protect us, the Trump administration seems to be more interested in stirring up fear of immigrants, as evidenced by its focus on walls, bans and databases of crimes committed by immigrants. Apparently they’d rather catalog those crimes than prevent them. Shouldn’t we all be asking why that is?

Not only are these new enforcement policies not keeping us safe, they are an affront to the other principles of fairness, order, practicality and compassion. Trump’s pardoning of former sheriff Joe Arpaio and the stranding of women and children at a San Antonio bus stop that had been closed down because of…

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