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Whatever Happened to DACA/DREAMERS?
Peggy Sands Orchowski -- Immigration Expert Peggy Sands Orchowski -- Immigration Expert
Washington, DC
Thursday, May 16, 2019


May 16 EXPERTCLICK.COM                        What happened to Dreamers?     759 wds


What's Happened to the DACA/DREAMERS?

By Peggy Sands Orchowski

The legalization of so-called DREAMERS – those hyper sympathetic young people who as common definition has it "were brought into the country illegally and innocently by  . their parents at a young age" -- many say as infants.  According to the common story, DREAMERS only learned that they were in the country illegally (aka: that they are in fact unauthorized or "undocumented" immigrants) when they went to get their drivers' licenses or apply to college and were refused on the basis of their immigration status.

The sympathetic personal stories of selected DREAMERS have been featured in long cover stories, features, profiles and television focus stories for years.  They became a cause célèbre of immigrant advocates.  Since 2017, Congress shut down the government three times because a bill to legalize between 700,000 to 4 million DREAMERS was not included as part of the year-end budget.

So why in 2019 have DREAMERS not been included in any of Democratic or Republican immigration reform proposals, encluding the one coming out of the White House today?

I have been covering the DREAM Act since it was first proposed in 2007 by the bi-partisan Senate buddies Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA).  I have watched and reported how the definition and very concept of DREAMERS has been spun by both sides and how this most sympathetic group of illegal immigrants - some of whom truly merit special legalization legislation  - have become a favorite bait-and-switch issue for politicians across the spectrum.

"Everyone loves the issue of DREAMERS but no one wants to support a solution," lamented former Washington Post publisher Donald Graham at a May 5 meeting at the BiPartisan Institutei in DC.   Graham founded and is personally active in TheDream.US,  a non-profit organization that supports DREAMERS in college.

Both Republicans and Democrats have suggested stand-alone DREAM Acts but they have always failed.  One explanation according to former Mississippi Governor and Senator Haley Barbour is that no one wants to take DREAMERs off the negotiating table because they want to use them as a driver to pass other more controversial immigration issues.

Many polls have confirmed that a good majority of Americans want "children who were brought into the country illegally by their parents" to be legalized.  The problem is however that not one word of that defintion is included in the definition and basc qualifications of DREAMERS in any Dream Act proposal nor even in President Obama Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The real definition of DACA/DREAMERS is: "anyone who came into the United States before age 16".  In 2018, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer changed that defintion to "under the age of 18", with no upper age limit to apply and applicants required to have been in the country for only four years from the date of the Act's passage.

So by definition and in fact: DREAMERS and DACA recipients don't have to have been brought in by their parents.  They can and do come in legally on temporary visas like student and tourist and then overstay them. They don't have to be little innocent children. They can come in as minors (ie under the age of 18)  on a first class plane ticket, or on the top of a train or by traffickers or fake relatives or unaccompanied.  Once here four years they will qualify for a green card under the Democrat's new DREAM Act.

A DACA/DREAMER is by definition a millennial when they can apply – ages 18-32 and more.   Most are not innocent of having entered and living illegally in the US.  Most who were teenagers when they entered and at the age of majority, knowingly and purposely broke U.S. immigration laws.

This is not how most generous and compassionate Americans picture DREAMERS.

In 2010 my op ed about "Why The Dream Act Can't Pass" was published in California.  It describes how loosy-goosy the Dream Act was with little or no penalty if the applicants lie about their age of entry for instance.  The flaws have only been enhanced by the false definition, perpetuated by everyone including reporters and editors too busy to check the three page DACA order or the 20 page Dream Act proposal.

In reality however no one really cares.  The DREAMERS whatever their definition are being used to push a larger package. As they become more controversial, assertive and aggressive – even attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelossi in a press conference – the sympathy towards these "little children" is being replaced by infatuation now with the "children" and UAMs (unaccompanied minors most of whom are older teenagers) of families surging across the Mexican border.



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“We can’t know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been”. Vice President of the Brookings Institution Darrell West wrote in recommending Peggy Sands Orchowski’s books   "The Law That Changed The Face of America: The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965" and  "Immigration and the American Dream: Battling the Political Hype and Hysteria" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015 and 2008 respectively).  Peggy is a credentialed Senior Congressional journalist in Washington DC. She is available for interviews, article assignments and speaking engagements about immigration   porchowski@hotmail.com

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Name: Peggy Sands Orchowski
Title: Senior Congressional Correspondent
Dateline: Washington, DC United States
Main Phone: 202-236-5595
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