Right now, 800,000 young beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program face imminent deportation in March. To avoid the deportation of these young people, a deal must be met by the U.S. Congress.
Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of immigration negotiators came to an agreement to protect recipients of the DACA program. The plan would give DACA participants a path to citizenship, and also protects Temporary Protected Status recipients from El Salvador and Haiti.
The deal reached by the bipartisan group may now be in peril.
On January 12th, in a meeting with the bipartisan group of Senators, President Donald Trump profanely derided several countries with large Black and Latino populations. He asked why we could not receive more immigrants from places like Norway.
The President has made racist remarks and decisions in the past, dating back to housing discrimination and through his campaign announcement. This time, however, it could jeopardize desperately needed legislation.
Whether he said a swear word, the intent remains the same. Saying Norwegian immigrants are preferred over Haitian immigrants pits people against each other, and devalues the contributions made by those from Haiti and African nations.
The Trump administration has already planned to eliminate temporary protected status (TPS) for Haitians, which would result in the deportation of at least 50,000 immigrants currently contributing to U.S. society.
From teachers and scientists, to innovators in the tech industry, immigrant experiences and knowledge are what build and strengthen our country. Immigrants who work in the service and hospitality industries are already pillars of our economy. Haitian and African immigrants are already worthy to live here because of their ideas, experiences, and humanity. They make our country better.
The Trump administration has made significant strides to limit both legal and illegal immigration. His comments and the aftermath may serve as a dangerous distraction as hundreds of thousands of young people may be deported to a country they have no connection to.
Some key Republicans have come forward with a sense of urgency, and the president should listen. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, a member of Trump’s Republican party, says “there is strong, bipartisan support to address the issue of these young individuals who were brought to the United States at no fault of their own.”
Members of Congress must act now.
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