Editorial: Congress has seemingly forgotten about Dreamers, but Park City hasn’t | ParkRecord.com

Editorial: Congress has seemingly forgotten about Dreamers, but Park City hasn’t

In September, the Trump administration announced its intention to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects undocumented immigrants brought to the country when they were 16 or younger.

It was a devastating blow to the Park City community, which is home to dozens of Dreamers — many of whom turned to DACA for protection from deportation and the ability to apply for work authorization, state financial aid for college and a social security number. At the time, congressional lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said they would work quickly to find a legislative solution to provide permanent protections for Dreamers.

Roughly eight months later, though, the fate of Dreamers remains in doubt. Court victories in the fight to keep DACA in place have kept the Trump administration from dismantling the program entirely, but its future is still on shaky footing. And Congress, which has the power to make the legal battle moot and end the uncertainty surrounding Dreamers, has done nothing. Republican leadership in the House of Representatives won't even allow a vote on immigration bills, despite a recent push from moderates within their own party.

The failure of our elected leaders to act has taken a human toll — one that weighs heavy in the Park City area. After Trump's election, the Latino community was already on edge. Their worry proved justified when his administration moved to end DACA. And now, Park City's Dreamers and their families live every day not knowing what their futures look like in this country. Some students, local advocates say, have begun to lose hope that a solution to permanently protect them will ever be found.

But where lawmakers have abdicated their responsibility, Parkites have continued to step up. Leaders of a local fundraising push say they've been able to fund 50 two-year renewals over the last six months for Dreamers currently protected by DACA (renewals are permitted as the courts determine the fate of the program, though new applications aren't). As renewals cost $495 apiece, the effort demonstrates the tremendous compassion found in our community.

Advocates say the push, which partners with the Park City Education Foundation, will continue as long as there is the need and as long as there is any hope of the courts saving DACA or Congress eventually stepping in. They hope to raise $50,000 more in the coming weeks, enough to pay for roughly 100 DACA renewals.

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Though the future is uncertain, Parkites should continue to throw their weight behind the cause. Lawmakers thus far have let Dreamers down, but every dollar raised in Park City is a chance to show the Latino community that their neighbors here have not given up the fight.