The U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection Thursday of the White House attempt to get rid of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program offers another chance for the program’s 800,000 or so recipients to catch their collective breath. For the time being, young immigrants in the Yakima Valley and beyond are protected from deportation and can continue to work and study here. That’s one bit of good news.
Another bit of good news: Even though the court noted that the Trump administration can try again to dismantle the Obama-era executive order, it’s doubtful that any such attempt can be completed before the November election.
The bad news centers on Trump’s original plan in 2017 when he launched his attempt to halt the program. The idea at the time was to put the fate of the DACA recipients, known as Dreamers — people who were illegally brought into the United States as children — into the hands of Congress. Not surprisingly, that strategy has gone nowhere in Washington, D.C., as have most serious attempts at immigration reform over the past several years.
U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, a Sunnyside farmer and one of the few Republicans to voice consistent support for retaining DACA, hit the nail on the head in a statement his office released Thursday morning in support of the ruling.
“These young people came to our country as children due to no fault of their own, and they continue to work, learn, and enrich our communities,” he said.
“I strongly support delivering legal certainty to DACA recipients,” he continued. “And while this decision provides them relief from immediate action, Congress still has the responsibility to provide a truly permanent legislative solution as President Trump called for three years ago. We cannot continue to leave the fate of Dreamers before the courts or in the balance between administrations.”
We agree. Dreamers came here through no decision of their own, but they’ve grown up here, gone to school, hold jobs, contribute to society and consider themselves Americans. Bipartisan support must emerge for permanent changes guaranteeing Dreamers the right to stay here and pursue a path to citizenship.
Newhouse has a unique voice in this debate; estimates suggest there are more than 17,000 DACA recipients in Washington state, and about one-third of them live in Newhouse’s 4th Congressional District, which includes much of the Yakima Valley. Newhouse also notes that he represents more DACA recipients than any other Republican member of Congress. He has offered consistent support for DACA while showing political savvy in tempering his votes when necessary in hopes of finding consensus, and we trust that this pattern will continue, as Thursday’s ruling did not pass judgment on DACA itself — only whether the current attempt to end it followed proper procedure.
President Donald Trump took a hard stance on immigration as he campaigned prior to the 2016 election and began his DACA-dismantling plan less than a year after taking office. This editorial board noted at the time that he faced indignation from different sides of the immigration issue. DACA participants, their families, their employers and others unsurprisingly showed fear and disappointment. But there also were those of a more hard-line immigration persuasion who wanted the program eliminated without the prospect of Congressional action.
Americans from all corners have every reason to be concerned with U.S. immigration policy, no matter their perspective. But DACA has worked well, Dreamers are Americans, and Congress needs to come together and put this issue to rest.