Op-Ed: Time’s up, Congress. Bypass GOP leaders and get DACA done for DREAMers
Gov. John Kasich recently authored an op-ed in USA Today encouraging Congress to act on DACA:
Ever since the Trump administration’s effort last fall to kill the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, 800,000 young people living in our communities have faced the fear of deportation from the only homes — and the only homeland — most have ever really known. These are the “DREAMers”: our neighbors, schoolmates and co-workers who were brought to America as children and, until now, were eligible to stay and lead productive lives by meeting strict DACA requirements and undergoing security checks.
As governor of a state with many DACA residents and as a grandson of immigrants who values the immense contributions each new generation of arrivals has brought to America, I am deeply concerned by congressional inaction on DACA. Also, as a former member of Congress, I believe that election to the House or Senate carries a responsibility to solve problems and keep America on course with the values that have made our nation great.
I was initially encouraged by court decisions that delayed the president’s shutdown of DACA and bought Congress time to find a bipartisan solution that would allow DREAMers to remain with us. But as Congress continues to dither and the House Republican leadership stubbornly insists on blocking all DACA debate, my hopes have turned to frustration.
Look, this should be a slam dunk! DACA recipients who live in our communities are Americans in every sense, except for their paperwork. They grew up in this country. They are one of us. Many are valued employees, others pursue higher education and some serve in our armed forces.
But with President Trump’s push to end the DACA program, it’s fallen on Congress to act before hundreds of thousands of these young people lose their protection from deportation. The clock is ticking. Yet the House of Representatives, in particular, seems incapable of taking action, frozen in place by its present leadership and Washington’s toxic politics.
Fortunately, there is a way for a determined, bipartisan majority of members to go over the heads of that leadership and move a DACA bill toward consideration in the House.
A little-used parliamentary tool called a discharge petition, when signed by a majority of members, can bring a blockaded issue to the House floor. A discharge petition to force action on four separate DACA bills is now being circulated, and many members from both parties have already signed. But the needed majority of 218 has not yet been reached, and a few more members must have the courage and good sense to sign.
Otherwise, a terrible alternative hangs over 800,000 of our neighbors, not to mention their families, employers, coworkers and classmates. And if members fail to agree on a DACA solution — with or without using a discharge petition — I fear Congress will never have the confidence to tackle far more complex immigration issues. In fact, inaction on DACA suggests to me that our current Congress, given today’s hyper-partisan atmosphere, may be totally incapable of solving any complex problem at all.
I would be very happy to have Congress prove me wrong. We must tell House members to sign the discharge petition and act on DACA now. Then the Senate must do its part. Time’s up. Get it done!