Time to Vote on a Solution for DACA Recipients

Today on the Senate floor, I told the stories of several DACA recipients in Texas. One of those DACA recipients is Julio Ramos, a biology teacher who is getting his Master’s degree in biomedical informatics. He’s from Brownsville, Texas right along the US-Mexico border and is a DACA recipient. After his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, he decided he wanted to be a doctor. He's even been accepted into Texas medical schools, but he wasn't sure whether he would be allowed to attend. He's waiting and watching, worried about his future.

Then there's Miriam Santamaria from Houston, Texas. She graduated from high school in Houston with honors. She paid her way through community college, and she works as a manager at a construction company and owns her own photography business… She's also looking to live in peace in the only country that she's ever known, that she calls home. She came to the United States when she was four years old.

There is a man who I'll just call by the first name of Daniel. He, too, lives in Texas. He graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in advertising and contributes productively to society. Daniel came from Mexico at the age of two. And he said, "all the choices I make, I made as an American because that's what I am."

We need to listen to these stories as we consider this legislation and as people are perhaps tempted into the political grandstanding and gamesmanship that unfortunately sometimes overwhelms our best intentions. These are real human lives hanging in the balance. They're important. They teach us about the real people behind the policy.

Sympathy for DACA recipients is right and good because in America, we do not punish children for the mistakes of their parents. And we're not going to punish these young people who are now adults and have become part of our communities. But those Americans who live along the border in my state realize that illegal immigration has caused real, tangible harm in terms of public safety, in terms of property damage, and their way of life.

The federal government has failed over the years to live up to its responsibility to maintain the security of our border. And so taxpayers in my state have to step up and fill the gap left by the failure of leadership at the federal government. But we have an opportunity to fix that in this legislation.

That's why during this week's debate, ensuring additional resources for border security is an essential piece of the puzzle. That includes not only in the areas between the ports of entry, but well, Mexico is one of our largest trading partners. We have legitimate trade and commerce that flows back and forth across the border with Mexico that supports five million American jobs.

We have an opportunity to address not only the anxiety and plight of these DACA recipients, but also to make our country safer and more secure.

I hope we'll take advantage of this opportunity this week. Time is wasting. It's Wednesday. We don't have any time to waste at all.


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