Over the last six months, we have seen a government shut-down, much debate, multiple legal challenges, and countless protests over whether the federal government should extend legal status to the Dreamers – the 690,000 people who were brought to our country illegally as children who are currently enrolled in President Obama’s controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Throughout this debate over the DACA Dreamers, however, almost no attention has been paid to another group of Dreamers – a group that is here legally yet still faces the threat of being ejected from the United States and separated from their families.
These children came to the United States with their parents, who reside here thanks to employer-sponsored skill-based H-1B visas. As their parents wait for green cards – a process that for some can take decades due to backlog – some of these individuals turn 21 and lose their legal status to continue to live in the United States. This forgotten group has been dubbed the DALCA Dreamers – the “L” stands for “legal.”
These DALCA Dreamers call America home, they are educated in the United States, and many have the potential to significantly contribute to our society and overall economic prosperity. However, they have been largely ignored in the Left’s crusade to protect DACA Dreamers because the DALCA Dreamers don’t necessarily fit in an identity politics-focused electoral model that benefits Democrats.
As Senator Rand Paul pointed out in a letter to his Congressional colleagues, the predicament these children face is not currently solved by either DACA or the DREAM Act as written.
As Congress and the President work to fix our immigration problems – including finding a compassionate solution for DACA Dreamers – we must not allow these DALCA Dreamers to fall through the cracks and be forgotten.
This should be no problem for the Administration. Helping DALCA Dreamers fits perfectly with President Trump’s plan to create a merit-based immigration system. President Trump has repeatedly called for compromise and has outlined a fair, compassionate, and innovative framework for reforming our immigration system.
The White House Framework on Immigration Reform and Border Security lists “providing legal status for DACA recipients and other DACA-eligible illegal immigrants” as one of President Trump’s four priorities. President Trump’s plan provides a pathway to citizenship based on work, education, and moral character standards for 1.8 million individuals over the next 10 to 12 years – provided they do not break the law or threaten public safety or national security. The President should include the DALCA Dreamers under this pillar.
Last September, President Trump gave Congress six months to fix President Obama’s unconstitutional, overreaching DACA nightmare and exercise its constitutionally-vested power to fix our immigration system. However, thanks to a few activist court decisions, President Trump’s March 5 deadline has now come and gone.
The bright side is that while the DACA issue is being litigated in the courts, Congress has more time and opportunity to tackle this problem and develop a fair, compassionate system that ensures America remains the land of opportunity without sacrificing our safety or national security.
However, as lawmakers work on this solution, they must keep in mind how senseless, unfair, and hypocritical it would be to provide a fix for DACA Dreamers – who came here illegally – and neglect to provide a solution for the DALCA Dreamers who have followed the rules and are being victimized by our backlogged, broken system. At the same time, the ultimate solution must be fair and just for American citizens. As President Trump said in his State of the Union Address, “Americans are dreamers too.”
There is no doubt, fixing immigration will be difficult – but it is not impossible. Now is the time for legislators from both sides of the aisle to come together to provide a reasonable, fair solution for all the Dreamers living in our country.
Newt Gingrich is a contributor to Fox News and a former Speaker of the House.