Scuffed knees, aching with a sting only as strong as the amount of attention the shallow wounds received from my mother. Occasional disappointment, caused by not getting that toy or going to that sleepover with my friends. A near-endless supply of cornbread, sweet tea, Happy Meals, and my father's concoction of kidney bean and tomato soup.
This is the recipe of my childhood: The bitterness blunted by the generous love and care from my parents. Bless their hearts, they tried.
Other parents try really hard, too. I am extremely fortunate that at this moment, my daughter has access to a stable home, fresh foods that don't always come from a box, an education, and on-demand healthcare. My family and I were not situated at this place of comfort a few short years ago. Even now - like most Americans - we are one unforeseeable disaster away from losing everything.
There is nothing I would not do or consider to keep my child safe and to provide her with abundant opportunities for happiness and success. As such, I cannot fault anyone else for making difficult decisions to provide for their children. We all do the best we can to survive and thrive. Perhaps that is why I am so frustrated with the inaction of Congress when it comes to protecting our Dreamers.
What are Dreamers?
When we speak of Dreamers, we refer to nearly 700,000 people that were brought into our country as children - before the age of 16. Dreamers are very similar to you or me. They grew up in the United States, they pay income taxes, they go to school and they work.
Despite the fact that Dreamers were raised in the U.S. and grew up alongside all of us here, they had to apply every two years to defer deportation back to a country that they do not know or love. Does it really make sense to break apart the families of our friends, neighbors, classmates, or acquaintances to score political points?
According to the Frequently Asked Questions page of the DHS website, Dreamers are responsible for meeting several conditions, including:
- "Are currently in school, have graduated, or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety."
Basically, they are educated, patriotic and pose no risk to our country.
Further, here's one tweet where our President got things right:
Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2017
Knowing this - that Dreamers contribute to the American economy and society in meaningful ways - why do we not afford them the dignity of protection from deportation? When is enough enough?
I will not pretend like I was the perfect child. I stomped around and whined when I did not get my way. A new Barbie? Mine. That Hanson CD at the mall? Mine, all mine. Those wide-legged jeans? Also mine.
Unlike the superficial, totally as-if whatever reasons I had to protest the establishment (aka my parents), the Dreamers are only asking for a little consideration from the country they know and love. We can do this for them. I am asking you - one parent to another - to please consider writing or calling your representatives to help Dreamers secure a path to citizenship.
And I will leave you with this quote that has been attributed to Bill Brady:
"My parents didn't raise me to hold children accountable for their parents' actions."