This morning, the Trump administration officially notified nearly 800,000 people that they are not welcome in the United States. These people came to this country as children and know no other place to call home. And now they are essentially left in limbo, as the president has called on Congress to come up with a new law to replace the Obama-era executive order by next March.
“This move to abandon the Dreamers is cold, heartless, and morally bankrupt—once again putting party over people,” said Chalis Montgomery, U.S. Congressional candidate for Georgia’s 10th District. “There seems to be no logical reason to end this program other than to fulfill the president’s campaign promise to his base. It goes against the core of who we are as a compassionate country.”
President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012. It shielded from deportation those undocumented immigrants under 30 who were brought to the United States as children. These immigrants could not automatically enroll in DACA; instead, they had to apply by meeting strict qualifications. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, those criteria include being enrolled in school, having obtained a GED or high school diploma, possessing nearly clean criminal records, and not posing any significant threats to national security or public safety. “Over the past five years, this policy has brought many young immigrants out of the shadows to live fruitful lives,” said Montgomery, a former children’s minister who participated in the Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition of national evangelical leaders and pastors who work for immigration reform. “I call on Congress to enact legislation that protects these and future young people and their contributions to our society and economy.”
A study done by the thinktank Center for American Progress and FWD.us, an immigration reform group started by Facebook, estimated that ending DACA would cost the federal government $60 billion and could cut economic growth by $280 billion over the next 10 years. Ending this program would also rip apart the lives of those who put their trust and hope in the American ideal. Our country cannot afford these harsh consequences.
“It is time to stop treating human lives as if they are disposable,” said Montgomery, who announced her campaign against U.S. Rep. Jody Hice in July. “It is incumbent upon each of us to use our collective voice to tell our leaders that enough is enough: No more political games. If you are fed up with our current situation, help me reach Washington. When I’m there, I will represent every American and will work to ensure that our country welcomes those who wish to contribute to our rich legacy.”