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Students, immigrants and Impacted individuals marched ...
Joe Amon, The Denver Post
Students, immigrants and supporters marched to Tivoli Quad on Auraria Campus to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program during a city wide walkout and rally in September.

It is time for Congress and President Donald Trump to put blame games and unreasonable demands aside and to resolve the uncertainty of hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents by reviving and reforming the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Trump threw a wrench into the works in September when he revoked executive orders by President Barack Obama setting up the so-called Dreamer program that had offered legal work and student status to those who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

One of the conservative arguments against DACA popular among congressional Republicans was that it constituted presidential overreach — that Obama didn’t have the authority to implement it through executive orders. Trump called that bluff. He delayed repeal by six months so that Congress could develop a legislative solution for the Dreamers.

The clock is ticking.

Just days after putting Dreamers’ future at risk, Trump tweeted, “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really! They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own — brought in by parents at young age.”

That’s actually a very good summation of the arguments for solving this issue. To qualify for DACA, applicants had to have been brought to the United States before their 16th birthday, have completed high school or equivalent, have no felony or serious misdemeanor convictions, and pose no other threat to national security or public safety.

Many Dreamers have never known life in any country other than the United States. Many have served honorably in the military. In order to meet the DACA qualifications, every single Dreamer either is or is on the path to become a contributing member of our society.

None of them deserves to be punished — much less deported — because their parents brought them here as children.

Since revoking Obama’s executive order, Trump has blundered about, one day tweeting encouragement to Dreamers and suggesting a deal was in the works to pass a legislative fix, then days later releasing demands for a deal Democrats would never accept.

Democrats and Republicans can’t rely on leadership from the White House. They must work together to pass legislation that offers permanent protections for these people who are American citizens in everything but name. There are 800,000 Dreamers in this country, approximately 17,000 of them in Colorado, according to Gov. John Hickenlooper. There is broad public support for protecting them, and multiple bipartisan bills to do so have already been introduced. This really should be a no-brainer for Congress.

If Congress passes a bill that simply reinstates the DACA program, Trump would most likely sign it, his ridiculous list of demands notwithstanding. Signing the legislation would give him a rare legislative accomplishment to tout, and he can even claim credit for providing the impetus for congressional compromise on immigration. Whatever works.

Congress has been wrestling with comprehensive immigration reform for many years. And while we continue to argue for broad reform, we get it that now is not the time to try to solve the many differences both between Republicans and Democrats and within the Republican Party that it would take to get there. For now, lawmakers should stay focused on solving the problem facing the Dreamers, then turn to the tougher questions.

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