Colorado senators jointly introduce new Dream Act

Colorado’s U.S. senators jointly introduced the Dream Act of 2017 on Tuesday, hours after the Trump administration announced it would dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months and Trump urged Congress to act by then.

The bill by senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, a Democrat and Republican respectively, would allow a select group of young people known as “Dreamers” the opportunity to remain in the United States and eventually earn citizenship. Participants would have had to have been continuously present in the United States for the four years prior to enactment of the measure.

“While comprehensive immigration reform should remain a long-term solution, we also need a more immediate fix to protect Dreamers,” Bennet said. “I have long supported legislation that makes clear what we already know: supporting Dreamers boosts our economy, strengthens our national security, and aligns with our values. Congress must move quickly to pass this legislation.”

Gardner said the Dream Act of 2017 could provide certainty to thousands of “law-abiding Coloradan Dreamers and demonstrate bipartisan leadership on this important issue. I have long called for an overhaul of our country’s immigration system and believe this is an important step.”

U.S. Rep Scott Tipton, an opponent of President Barack Obama’s executive order establishing the deferred-action program, said he would support “a compassionate and commonsense solution for the children who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents” and are now “upstanding, valued members of our communities. They should not be punished for a decision that was made by their parents years ago.”

Bennet called Trump’s decision to dismantle the Obama-era program “the height of cruelty” and “an attempt to score political points by separating families and disrupting schools and workplaces.”

Congress “must work together to find a legislative solution to protect Dreamers,” Bennet said in a statement.

Gardner said he has long sought a legislative solution to the issues posed by children living in the United States “without documentation who were brought here by no fault of their own.”

The United States is “in this situation today because the program was created through executive action by the previous administration instead of through Congress. We now have the opportunity to fix this issue through the legislative process,” Gardner said.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper blasted Trump’s decision, saying it “unnecessarily jeopardizes the futures of more than 17,000 Coloradans. We strongly encourage Colorado’s congressional delegation to support the passage of the Dream Act, ensuring that Dreamers can continue making contributions to the only country they’ve ever called home. We will not turn our back on these young people and neither should our country.”

The Colorado Democratic Latino legislative caucus also said dismantling the program was wrong.

“These kids did not choose to move to this country, and many of them have no recollection of their lives before they came to the U.S. It would be a gross injustice to tear them away from their families and the lives they have built in America,” the caucus said in a statement.


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