This month presents a massive win and, finally, hope for the future of 800,000 young Dreamers. Last week the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration's push to bring an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).
Since the Obama era, DACA has protected undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, known as Dreamers, from deportation, allowing them to remain in the United States. While there has been a long-winded fight in the case of securing the future of DACA, this swift change now turns the problem back to Congress to solve.
In a 5-4 ruling written by Chief Justice John Roberts, accompanied by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer, this motion ruled that the Trump administration failed to present enough evidence to terminate DACA. Now, DACA participants can renew membership in the program, offering them temporary protection from deportation and work authorization.
For years, the Trump administration has fought to bring an end to this program. This fight has left generations of young Dreamers awaiting the moment America would no longer support them. As the Supreme Court decision blocks the termination of DACA, it brings momentary protection to Dreamers. The block of the plan to end the DACA program is news thousands have awaited. Particularly in this season of heightened palpable divisiveness throughout our nation, it offers a sigh of relief.
What we need now is for Congress to bring a bipartisan, permanent legislative solution for these young people. Our nation could not be more eager for changes in how we approach immigration and how we define and value citizenship in this country. No doubt, it will be a lot of work, but now it falls to them. It is time we show all races and ethnicities that America is truly the land of the free and can be their home. It should be their home.
Some argue that in a year met with multiple crises, from a pandemic to a cry to reform police and facing a critical election, the matter of DACA will be a massive one for Congress to resolve.
But this issue can no longer be avoided. The fate of thousands upon thousands of Dreamers can no longer be pushed to the wayside. Since the beginning of this case, protected immigrants of DACA have continued to be deported and remained in fear of deportation. A permanent legislative solution is desperately needed.
In response to this news, the executive director of the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, Miriam Feldblum, stated, "The Court's decision is a testament to the leadership, perseverance and determination of the many DACA recipients and Dreamers who put their faith in the American dream."
As a founding member of the President's Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration and as a president of a university that embraces diversity, I have watched students place their faith in this dream and be disappointed time and time again. I have seen the nightmare these students have faced with continued uncertainty. America is the only place they have known to be home, yet have never been at peace calling it that. I have witnessed their struggle and fear, but I have also seen their exceptional talent and contributions that our country has too frequently taken for granted. Now that we have finally arrived at this long-awaited moment, we must call on Congress to pass legislation and equip Dreamers with a path to citizenship and a permanent place in our nation.
As Feldblum stated, "These aspiring Americans — who are Americans in all ways except on paper — contributed immensely to our campuses and communities across this nation with many of them serving as essential workers, researchers and medical professionals during this COVID-19 pandemic." For those blind to these facts, they may now open their eyes to rights and freedoms they have kept at an arms-length to these thousand Dreamers. Who are we to revoke the opportunity of American citizenship from these young people?
Surely, now we can enable Dreamers to live in full freedom and the hope that we all are free to live in, rather than the perpetual fear that they wake up with each day.
Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the President of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and is the author of "Framework Leadership." A champion of innovative educational design, Ingle is the president of one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. As president, Ingle founded the American Center for Political Leadership at the university and is also a founding member of the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. Before becoming Southeastern's president in 2011, Ingle held leadership positions in higher education and the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle. Ingle is the author of several leadership books and the creator of the Framework Leadership podcast. He currently serves on the board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Read Kent Ingle's Reports — More Here.
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