Wichita Activist: GOP Immigration Proposal Treats Dreamers As 'Bargaining Chips'

Jan 29, 2018

A Wichita advocacy group says the latest GOP immigration proposal is using Dreamers as “bargaining chips” to push for tighter laws.

Last week the White House released a framework for immigration reform that includes a 10- to 12- year pathway to citizenship for adults brought to the U.S. as children, known as Dreamers.

“The citizenship is great," says Lupe Magdaleno, the head of Sunflower Community Action in Wichita. “In their minds, in their hearts, they are citizens.”

The framework outlines a path to citizenship for roughly 1.8 million people, including those protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA,  as well as other DACA-eligible immigrants. The DACA program is set to expire in March, and the ACLU of Kansas estimates there are about 6,000 state residents who would be at risk for deportation if it ends.

In exchange for the citizenship pathway, the Republican proposal would limit family reunification, allowing immigrants to bring over their spouses and young children, but not their parents. Magdaleno says the trade-off is "not moral."

“That’s why the Dreamers are hurting so much," she says, "because they’re being forced to choose their protection against the separation of the family.”

She says she thinks Congress can produce a better bill.

"The Dreamers are not giving up," Magdaleno says. "They're pushing back because they don't believe that they should be treated as bargaining chips. They believe that they're human beings, they deserve better, they deserve to be with their parents."

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