Dreamers are not criminals; it’s time for Congress to stand up

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Stefano de Stefano, Texas Senatorial Candidate, Special to the Orlando Advocate  |  HOUSTON (September 7, 2017) — As a nation, we are only as good as our word. By rescinding deportation protections for Dreamers, children who were brought to the United States illegally, we break faith with hundreds of thousands of young men and women who took us at our word when they registered with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Dreamers are not criminals. They are productive members of society: high school graduates, military veterans, working professionals, taxpayers. To betray their trust now that they have come into the open is nothing short of perverse.
Having torpedoed their current protections, the White House granted a six month grace period for Congress to pass legislation in defense of DACA beneficiaries. It falls on us, everyday citizens, to force our elected officials to do so. Any legislator who lacks the resolve and moral integrity to defend a cohort as blameless as the Dreamers does not deserve the dignity of office.
Since 2001, successive bipartisan efforts to protect Dreamers’ legal status have run upon the shoals of partisan politics. The Obama administration then took unconstitutional unilateral action in 2012 with an executive order, which was sold as a temporary stopgap until Congress could formalize DACA protections into law. That never happened.  Congress laid down on the job.
The American political system splits the duties of governance between three branches. When one branch falters, the other two pick up the slack. Going on twenty years now, the courts and the presidency have taken up powers of lawmaking surrendered by our ineffectual legislature.  And Ted Cruz is the face of that ineffectiveness.  The only way a generous observer can make sense of the Trump administration’s unravelling of DACA protections is that it pushes the burden of legislation back where it belongs: Congress.
If Congress fails again, as seems likely, we will have no one to blame but ourselves. Until voters reject the fetish for hardliners of both parties who turn compromise into a dirty word, who would have us believe they are “authentic” or “anti-establishment” when they are, in fact, spineless cowards and functionally ineffective, the casualties of legislative deadlock will continue to pile up.
Also, if congress continues to be useless as an ashtray on a motorcycle, then I call on President Trump to pardon anyone who registered with the US government for DACA as he ends the program.  It is un-American to punish people for the crimes of their parents.
Stefano de Stefano is the Republican primary challenger for Ted Cruz’ seat in the U.S. Senate.