When I endorsed the “Dream Act” fourteen long years ago, I introduced “Alex,” the then-very-young lad whom my wife and I were helping to cope with some of the challenges of life in America for an entirely innocent victim of this country’s wretchedly screwed up and inhumane immigration laws.
Today, he’s a beneficiary of DACA, which was one of Barack Obama’s best deeds and which Messrs. Trump and Sessions are now consigning to the tender mercies of a dysfunctional Congress. He’s got a driver’s license and a social security number. He’s got a college degree. He’s a social worker helping counsel elderly people and their families about sensitive, sad, and gnarly end-of-life issues. He’s also become a playwright and actor, with several successes to his credit. His teenage daughter is thriving in a top-notch charter school. His life is together. He pays his taxes. He obeys the law. He’s not only a proper American, he’s the kind we need many more of. (Senator Jeff Flake has written movingly of another stellar example, though now too old for DACA.)
DACA changed Alex’s life—and changed America for the better. He’s had it renewed once. Will he ever have it renewed again or will he again have to live in the shadows, on the margins, in fear of deportation?
It’s been reported that President Trump has misgivings about his own decision regarding DACA, suggesting that a tiny little heart may actually beat beneath the bluster and narcissism. But he and the Attorney General have decided that it’s now up to Congress. Speaker Ryan seems bent on trying to save Alex’s bacon—and that of about 800,000 other Dreamers. I surely wish him well. You should, too.
— Chester E. Finn, Jr.
Chester E. Finn, Jr., is a Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. He is also a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution.
This first appeared on Flypaper.