Show Us What You Stand For Dems--Go All In For Dreamers

January 26, 2018

A January 24th Seattle Times column by Danny Westneat frets that Seattle Indivisible and other ‘resistance’ activists are turning towards the crash-and-burn tactics of the far-right. In fact, we advocate the opposite: all we want is for Senators Cantwell and Murray to stand up to President Trump’s bullying, prevent a humanitarian crisis, and pass a wildly popular bipartisan piece of legislation - The DREAM Act.

Every day that passes without a solution, 700,000 DREAMers are cruelly forced to live in fear and uncertainty as the March 5 deadline looms. Brought here as young children, these teens and young adults have families and deep community ties here. They voluntarily reported to the government where they live and attend school and agreed to background checks every two years—trusting our promise that if they did everything we asked, they could go to school and work without fear of being ripped from their lives and families and deported to a country they have never known. 

President Trump created this crisis by reneging on the promise America made to these DREAMers and abruptly cancelling the DACA program without an alternative solution. Republican leadership has perpetuated the crisis, refusing to vote on the Dream Act even though 80% of Americans and 60% of Republicans support legal protections for DREAMers. Despite this consensus, Mr. Westneat argues Democrats have a “weak hand” so they should not go “all in” for the Dreamers. He says they were “fortunate to wriggle out” this week saving the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). But young DREAMers and children in need of healthcare are not poker chips. Congress should have voted on both the Dream Act and CHIP reauthorization months ago. Commentators such as Mr. Westneat should be condemning President Trump and the Republican Congress for treating this like a game in which Democrats must be prepared to “give up” one vulnerable population for another just to get Congress to vote on legislation America overwhelmingly supports.

What do we expect of our Democratic senators in the face of Trump’s chaos and Republican congressional dysfunction? We expect moral clarity that we the people can stand behind. In this year of national crisis, as the Trump administration has targeted immigrants and people of color with authoritarian consistency, we expect our Senators to act with the urgency of the times and stand firm against the deportation of an entire generation of immigrant Americans. Senators Cantwell and Murray took a firm stand when they voted against a continuing resolution without a DACA fix on Dec. 21st and again voted ‘no’ last Friday. We don’t understand what was different on Monday.

Our job as Americans is to hold our Members of Congress accountable. 5,800 grassroots Indivisible organizations throughout the country are helping people do that. When we express our disappointment in Senators Murray and Cantwell’s vote to re-open the government without DREAMer protections, we aren’t “bludgeoning our own,” we are asking them to do better. We are sending a clear message that their constituents want them to use every tool available to the minority party to protect the DREAMers.

We need to keep our focus on the hundreds of thousands of young people at risk of deportation.  They are not “leverage,” they are our neighbors. Our Senators claim they are champions of the DREAMers, and are horrified by what is happening to them. If so, they should do what DREAMers are asking and hold out for a real solution, not another empty promise to continue talking.  We cannot wait to act until the midterm elections – Dreamers may be subject to deportation on March 5 if Congress does not pass a DACA fix. Meanwhile, DREAMers and their families live in constant fear as President Trump and Congress treat this like a game. Take a stand Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell, and don’t back down.  For years, people have been complaining they don’t know what the Democratic Party really stands for—now is the time to show them.

Iga Kozlowska

President and Co-founder

Seattle Indivisible