Today, President Obama showed leadership traits rarely found in Washington — common sense and courage — by granting administrative relief to eligible DREAMers.
Presidents of Washington State SEIU Locals, Sergio Salinas, SEIU Local 6, David Rolf, SEIU Healthcare 775, Diane Sosne, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, and Karen Hart, SEIU Local 925, applaud President Obama’s decision to grant legal relief to young people who were brought to the U.S. as children and who have met certain qualifications such as such as being enrolled in school, having completed high school or earned a GED, or who have served in the military. Relief for these individuals, known as DREAMers, has been advocated by educators, the military, small business, and organized labor as well as religious leaders from various faiths as being key to ensuring our nation’s future economic and national security.
DREAMERs are disproportionately high achieving young students with good moral character — valedictorians, athletes, cheerleaders, J-ROTC members, and future scientists, nurses and technology developers — who grew up in the United States and consider themselves Americans but are not citizens because they were brought to our country without documents.
They want to serve the country that is their home and we will benefit from their contributions that will begin with this administrative relief and that will hopefully turn into congressional enactment of the DREAM Act.
President Obama is showing great courage in taking this action, and it presents a stark contrast with the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee who has vowed to stop the DREAM Act if elected. In Congress, polarizing partisan politics kept the DREAM Act from becoming law in 2010 when the House passed a bill. A healthy majority of the Senate also voted to approve the measure, but it was defeated due to a Republican filibuster.
Through President Obama’s great and courageous leadership, DREAM eligible students can start getting relief from the immediate threat of deportation. The President has now done all he can do, but the kind of relief he is able to grant is temporary by its nature. It is now up to Congress to pass the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, which is the only way that the dreams of these productive Americans can finally be realized.