End to DACA would be devastating

In just two months President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) will take effect. This program provides a pathway to legal status for undocumented youth who came to this country as children. Pulling the plug upends the lives of more than 700,000 people.

No place for many young people who have only known the United States as home.

• Children who arrived here before the age of 16 and are under 31 years of age on June 15, 2012

• Individuals who are in school or possess a high school diploma

• Applicants who have lived here for at least five years

• People who have not committed serious crimes

These young people live here in Kent, Auburn and South King County and pay taxes, support our schools, serve and die for their/our country. Despite the rhetoric, immigrants commit less crime than native-born Americans.

One dreamer writes, “I’m in college, studying IT and paying my way through work and a patchwork of special scholarships since I don’t qualify for any federal aid.”

Another says, “I’m trying to build a future that can help my parents, my sister and her children.”

A recent national poll found that 83 percent of Americans and 67 percent of Republicans support allowing these young people to remain in the U.S. under the DACA program. Congress has the authority to reinstate the DACA act, thus allowing these young people to receive a two-year renewable legal presence but not legal status. If Congress doesn’t act, starting March 6, as many as 983 undocumented people could lose their protected status every day – nearly 30,000 people a month, on average, for two years – as DACA recipients’ permits expire. Some of these young people live in South King County.

I believe this issue is a matter of morality. Evangelical, protestant and Catholic leaders call us to live up to the basic tenets of our most sacred texts, “to love your neighbor.”

Contact your elected representative and ask them to take action.

– Marvin Eckfeldt

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