Good Intentions, Broken System Left ‘Dreamers’ Locked In Limbo

By JOHN M. DERBY
Times Publisher
September 14, 2017

When those children who would be known as “Dreamers” first came to the United States, their parents or guardians knew they were undocumented.
Why didn’t many of these adults start the citizenship process? Or why weren’t many able to do so?
Perhaps the parents felt it would never become an issue, and they all could live in this country without ever having to work toward becoming citizens.
Maybe this is true for some, but there are other reasons. The high cost of achieving citizenship in this county is one. Attorneys can charge $5,000 or more for helping clients attain citizenship, and there is no guarantee that the person will ever meet the requirements. Even if successful, after all is said and done, acquiring a green card is not cheap.
Fear is always a big factor. While the undocumented person is working for citizenship, he or she has no legal status in this county. Going to the government for assistance, could set them up for deportation — so the thinking goes.
One of the failures of the Obama administration and Congress was not to spend enough money in cutting the red tape, so these Dreamers could get in line for citizenship.
Mexicans are the least likely of all nationalities to receive their citizenship when attempting to go through the legal process. They only have a 37 percent success rate. Every other nationality has a higher success rate.
Why were there never any free legal services provided by the state and the federal government to help the Dreamers get their citizenship instead of just passing legislation which side-stepped the problem.
There are so many people in education and public office — many right here in Merced County — who complain what the current administration is doing, but we have yet to see these same people come up programs to help the very people they feel are being discriminated against.
Obama was compelled to use a controversial executive order to implement the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy to shield these now young adult Dreamers from deportation and grant them college and work permits.
But DACA recipients still were prevented from applying for citizenship status. And impending lawsuits concerning the order in some states could have ignited immediate deportations.
Now President Trump is forcing Congress to deal with DACA and the Dreamers under a business-like deadline.
Get it done, he says, because it’s about time.
Clearly, today, the Dreamers should be one of the nation’s highest priorities for citizenship. Maybe this country could set up a “fast track” program for their citizenship with shorter waiting periods.
Most of these Dreamers have gone through the education system, are working, or going to college. Hundreds are studying right here at UC Merced.
Setting all other issues aside, the government which claims it is doing most for the Mexicans living in this country is really two-faced. Outwardly it complains about how the DACA youth are being treated, however, in reality the same government has done little to offer solutions to the very problem it complains about.
There is plenty of blame flying around — from Mexico to America, from illegal immigrants to a broken immigration system, and from Congress to past administrations.
But there is still an opportunity to right a wrong.


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