Commentary: Now is the Time to Show Support for Texas Dreamers
Authored by Brenda Kirk and originally published on expressnews.com
Aug. 15 will mark 10 years since Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, offered hope to immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. But the policy faces court challenges and could be overturned this year, which would leave hundreds of thousands of recipients suddenly vulnerable to deportation — and their employers and communities in the lurch. That is, unless Congress acts.
For me, this issue is personal because of Dreamers like Andrea Rathbone Ramos. She is one of many Dreamers who has made an immense impact on her community in San Antonio. She is a DACA recipient and outspoken supporter of Dreamers and immigrants.
Ramos comes from a long line of strong women. Both of her grandmothers were U.S. citizens, but her mother was born and raised in Mexico. When the Mexican economy began to fail in the late 1980s, Ramos’ mother decided to move to Texas and bring Andrea to be raised with her grandparents and the opportunities only America could provide.
Since her arrival, Ramos has made the most of every opportunity, earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio and building a robust career of giving back. After a stint at the American Business Immigration Coalition, where she helped immigrant business owners in Texas, she is completing another advanced degree as a dean’s scholar at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Ramos, the pride of her family, is the first to reach these educational heights. And she is one of many Dreamers I now call my friends. For the past 20 years, I have prayed for her and many other Dreamers and been encouraged by their stories.
Dreamers are passionate, courageous young leaders who are making a mark on our communities. Yet despite their contributions to their communities, they are forced to live in ongoing uncertainty.
As legal challenges to DACA threaten the future of the program, Dreamers are more aware than ever that the lives and professions they’ve built here — in the only country they know as home — could be revoked at any moment.
Over 100,000 DACA recipients call Texas home, using their skills, passions and finances to strengthen the Texas economy. They pay federal, state and local taxes.
Dreamers such as Ramos were brought to America as children in the name of opportunity. And they have thrived. But they have also made it possible for America to thrive, too.
Roughly 8 in 10 Americans from across the political spectrum want Congress to enact immigration reform that includes improvements to border security, a solution for Dreamers and reforms to ensure a reliable, lawful agricultural workforce.
The need for these reforms is more urgent than ever. Record numbers of migrants are crossing the border in increasingly dangerous conditions; workers with DACA are at risk amid an already severe labor shortage; and food prices are high.
On Dreamers in particular, Sen. John Cornyn has long spoken of his commitment to provide permanent legal protections. Cornyn can, and should, lead his colleagues to action.
I join other evangelical Christians in continuing to pray for Congress to provide Dreamers with the permanent solution they deserve. Dreamers such as Ramos support America and make it better. It’s time for Congress to act and show that America supports them, too.
Brenda Kirk is the South-Central mobilizer for the National Immigration Forum.