Editorial: Park City must keep up pressure on DACA deal | ParkRecord.com

Editorial: Park City must keep up pressure on DACA deal

The Park Record editorial, Oct. 14-17, 2017

The time is now for Park City to stand up for its most vulnerable residents.

It's been a little more than a month since the Trump administration announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program that provides protection from deportation for illegal immigrants brought to the United States when they were 16 or younger.

Nationally, such immigrants are often called Dreamers. Here, we call them Parkites. They are the sons and daughters of our friends, neighbors and coworkers. And as Congress continues to try to find a legislative fix to protect the more than 800,000 Dreamers across the country, we must make clear that a solution must be found.

The stakes couldn't be higher.

Earlier this year, a few months after the election of Trump, a Latino Park City High School student broke into tears speaking privately about the prospect that the president could rescind DACA. The girl had immigrated to the U.S. with her parents when she was a child from a Central American country ravaged by drugs and violence.

She shuddered at the possibility of being sent back, to a country she never really knew. Beyond the threat of deportation, she wondered how she would create a successful life without the other benefits of DACA, such as the ability to apply for work authorization and state financial aid for college.

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Park City, though, has the power to help the girl and the dozens of Dreamers like her who dot the halls of our schools. Last month, some residents started a successful push to get DACA paperwork filed for several young Latinos before a final renewal period expired Oct. 5.

Now is not the time to let up. The fate of Dreamers has been overshadowed in the headlines of late by the shooting in Las Vegas and the specter of war with North Korea, but Parkites should not lose focus on an issue that is among the most important in our community.

We must flood the phone lines of our congressional representatives and proclaim that our Latino neighbors are a vital part of who we are — and one we are willing to stand up and protect.

Some members of Utah's congressional delegation — notably Sen. Orrin Hatch — have been vocal about their support for the idea of passing legislation to protect Dreamers. But we need to continue to push them.

We've learned during the Trump administration that a unified voice still wields power in our democracy. That was true during the women's marches in January, and it was obvious during the healthcare debate.

It takes persistence and effort, but making our voices heard can affect change. For the sake of Dreamers in Park City and around the country, now is the time to prove it once again.

Park City's congressional representatives can be contacted at the following numbers: Sen. Mike Lee, 801-524-5933; Sen. Orrin Hatch, 801-524-4380; Rep. Rob Bishop, 801-625-0107.