October 16, 2019

Art & Lifestyle:

Hoyer Fights for DREAM Act

Criminal Justice Reform

Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (Md., 5th) and University of Maryland President Dr. Wallace Loh recently worked together on an opinion article that was published in the Diamondback, the University of Maryland’s on-campus newspaper. In the op-ed, Whip Hoyer and Dr. Loh wrote about the need to pass the DREAM Act to protect DREAMers and DACA students in Maryland.

The article ran with the headline: “Congress Must Pass the DREAM Act to Protect Maryland Dreamers” and was published Oct. 24, 2017. It began with a description of who is protected by the DREAM Act, including our neighbors, friends, students, and colleagues. The people protected include veterans and service members, people who care for the elderly and sick, and those who help people recovering from natural disasters.

They are called DREAMers, and as the letter stated, they are young people whose parents brought them to the US at a young age, and this country has been their only home. Congressman Hoyer and Mr. Loh said DREAMers are every bit as American as the rest of the citizens and often have no memory of living anywhere else. Nearly 10,000 of them are Maryland residents.

Former President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program so that DREAMers could come out of the shadows and attend school, apply for student loans, and apply for jobs. These changes would allow people to follow their dreams and be strong contributors to their communities.

However the current administration decided last month to end the DACA program. Because of that, young people are living in limbo, and are uncertain of their status, afraid of being deported, and scared they will be torn from their families and their homes.

Congressman Hoyer and Mr. Loh wrote that they believe Congress has to take action soon to prevent these unconscionable outcomes. The two said the country must provide a permanent solution to make sure young people can stay in the U.S. and continue contributing to the future of the nation.

More than 100 University of Maryland students are DREAMers and DACA students, and they face the future with dread. This is also true for many others in Maryland and the nation. These students are working hard, often juggling school work and jobs – while constantly dealing with challenges associated with their status as immigrants. Congressman Hoyer and Mr. Loh said the country must do everything possible to show that they are supported.

The letter stated that in addition to the moral problem of kicking hardworking young people out of the country, there is also an economic problem. The letter cited the Center for American Progress, which has stated that Maryland would see an annual loss of more than $509 million in the state’s gross domestic product. DREAMers are often entrepreneurs and have chosen to build their businesses in Maryland communities. They should not be sent away.

Deporting workers and entrepreneurs would have a severe negative impact on local economies. This would be an injustice and a waste, the letter states.

Congressman Hoyer and Mr. Loh expressed their support of passage of the DREAM Act in Congress. This legislation would allow thousands of young DREAMers to be more certain about their futures, allowing them to stay in the U.S. and providing a pathway to citizenship. “Together, we urge Members of Congress to support this critically important legislation and give DREAMers assurance they can remain here and contribute to our nation,” the letter states. “We both remain firmly committed to protecting DREAMers throughout Maryland, and support establishing a pathway to citizenship for them. This is consistent with the values our nation was built on. They came through no fault of their own. This is their home, and they want to build lives of consequence here. We should give them this opportunity.”

For more information about the DREAM Act and Congressional resources, visit Congressman Hoyer’s website.

Follow Congressman Hoyer on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information about House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, visit his Leader Page.

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