Home » Blog » Save the Dream, Don’t End it - Guest Commentary By Jaime Dominguez

Save the Dream, Don’t End it - Guest Commentary By Jaime Dominguez

As the clock ticks down to permanently ending DACA, the hope that Congress and the White House will find a resolution before the March 5th deadline appears at a minimum, remote. Almost two week’s ago; a bipartisan immigration proposal raised the prospect of a workable legislative solution. Unfortunately, the President chose to reject it despite his claim not to do so. A few day’s later, it appeared another compromise had been reached by the Democrats to support a bill that would fund Trump’s border wall in exchange for protection of Dreamers. But, after some partisan wrangling, the Democrats led by Senator Schumer (D-NY) withdrew the offer from the table putting the status of Dreamers in an even more precarious position.

However, last week’s pivot by the Trump administration to propose a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 1.8 million undocumented is sure to force both parties to propose a variant of immigration reforms that ultimately, could decide their political fate in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections as well as which party will control Congress.  The political jockeying is already in full swing as the President’s proposition is drawing the ire on both sides of the political aisles. For example, the conservative wing of the Republican party have made their intention clear that any legislation that leads to a pathway to citizenship is dead on arrival. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has expressed consternation over any bill that ties Dreamer protection measures to border security including the funding of the wall.  

 Regardless of which way the negotiations unfold, one thing is very clear. Dreamers should not be held as a bargaining chip in order to appease the hardliners who prefer to support anti-immigrant policies. And, American public opinion is on the side of immigration proposals that provide legal status protection to the nearly 800,000 Dreamers living in the U.S.  A recent Washington Post-ABC poll finds that eighty-six percent of Americans support legal protection for Dreamers. Furthermore, even among Republicans, the Harvard-Harris poll shows that two-thirds support a pathway to citizenship.

Even the business community seems to agree with the majority of Americans. Silicon Valley giants like Apple, and Facebook, and others such as AT&T,  IBM, Best Buy and Wells Fargo believe that Dreamers should be protected, granted citizenship or granted permanent residence. The collective view is that rescinding DACA runs contrary to fundamental American principles of hard work, compassion and national allegiance. I couldn’t agree more.

Also, there is enough evidence as to the educational and economic contribution Dreamers make at the federal, state and local level. And, in states like California, Texas and Illinois, who have a disproportionate share of DACA recipients, their local economies depend on this contribution. In fact, a study by the Center for American Progress shows that the deportation of Dreamers could result in a GDP loss of more than $433 billion over the next ten years. And, in these states, the losses could reach $11.3, $6.1 and 2.2 billion per year, respectively. Make no mistake, when almost every major industry in the United States supports protecting Dreamers from deportation, including manufacturing, automotive and media companies, energy, finance, hospitality and travel, it’s imperative for Congress to roll up its sleeves, get to work and come up with a bipartisan resolution. After all, it’s not the fault of the Dreamers that they are here.


Jaime Dominguez, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Instruction in the Department of Political Science and Latina/o Studies Program at Northwestern University. His research and teaching interests include immigration, race and ethnic politics and is an expert on Latino and Chicago politics. He is co-director of the Chicago Democracy Project and was a recipient of the Public Voices Fellowship.




Posted In: Immigration Reform & Policy