Mainstream Republicans of Washington and MRW Alliance respectfully ask that Republicans in the United States Congress make it a top priority to adopt legislation that would prevent deportation and provide permanent legal status for so-called “Dreamers,” children who were brought into this country unlawfully.
While our nation must enforce its laws, American justice does not punish children for actions of others. Deporting children to a country many have never known is not a fair and just punishment, would be inconsistent with our values and harm the economy of our states and the country.
- The West was settled by pioneers often more interested in what immigrants could do to build our communities than where they came from or under what circumstances.
- Our great trades, industries and economic sectors—agriculture, aerospace, fishing, software, timber, and many others—have all been built in part by, and are reliant for continued success on, immigrants from all corners of the world.
- The DREAM Act was first introduced in the Senate as a bipartisan bill in 2001, and has been reintroduced several times since. The 2017 DREAM Act has bipartisan support, including Republican Senators from Alaska, Arizona and Colorado.
- A 2012 executive order, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), gave legal status to children who entered the country unlawfully. Individuals covered by DACA are referred to as “Dreamers” after the Dream Act.
- Under DACA, Dreamers register with the federal government, and in return receive a renewable two-year deferment from deportation and are eligible for a work permit. To be eligible, recipients may not have committed felonies or serious misdemeanors.
- More than 800,000 Dreamers registered with the federal government. We have invested in their education and training, and they have become contributing members of our communities, working in diverse trades and professions, attending, and serving the public through the military and law enforcement. The Pacific Northwest has an estimated 28,000 Dreamers, with 17,000 in Washington State.
- In September 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions found the executive order was unlawful, and President Trump rescinded it effective March 2018. If Congress does not take action, in March 2018 the federal government will begin deporting the Dreamers.
- The conservative CATO Institute has estimated that repealing DACA would result in a $280 billion reduction in economic growth over the next decade.
- President Trump has supported path to legal status for Dreamers through a lawful legislative process, and said “It is now time for Congress to act!”
- We concur with the President, and ask that the Republicans in Congress make this a top priority.
Mainstream Republicans of Washington and MRW Alliance
Michael Karlis Vaska, Chair
All of our Republican Members of Congress have stated they support providing legal status for the Dreamers.
- Cathy McMorris Rogers said: “we must protect children who are already here in this country and those who are currently protected under DACA. That principle is fundamental for me. It’s also clear that we must work in Congress to provide long-term certainty for DACA recipients, like those here in Eastern Washington, and recognize their unique circumstances and the value they bring to the country as students, job-holders, members of the military, and members of society.”
- Dave Reichert said: “Children who were brought here by no fault of their own see America as their country and their home… They are our friends, neighbors, colleagues, spouses, and honored members of the military willing to sacrifice their life for our freedom. Punishing these individuals who have contributed so much to our communities and for a crime they did not commit is not in the American DNA. We are a caring, compassionate people and we in Congress must work toward a long-term immigration solution that is fair, respects the dignity of families, and allows all individuals to pursue the American dream.”
- Dan Newhouse said: “Any decision to end the DACA program would not merely be a disappointment, but a major setback for the young people I know who were brought here as children through no fault of their own.” “I have listened to their stories, and these young people are struggling as their futures here seem in doubt. I will continue to work to protect Dreamers. It is my priority in Congress to give these young people certainty.”
- Jaime Herrera Beutler said: “A lasting solution can only be provided through the force of law, and President Obama created a difficult situation for everyone when he circumvented U.S. laws through Executive Order. I believe we can uphold national security, protect opportunities for American citizens, and provide assurances to DACA recipients in Southwest Washington who have done nothing wrong that we understand their plight and that they can build a future here in the only country that many of them have ever known.”