U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal’s Message about the Dreamers and DACA

Thank you for your message regarding President Trump’s callous and misguided decision to rescind the executive order establishing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

I strongly oppose President Trump’s decision, and I will fight tirelessly to ensure that the Dream Act is passed.

As you know, in early September, President Trump made the cruel decision to rescind the DACA program, potentially triggering a humanitarian catastrophe by throwing the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people and their families into chaos.  DACA, which was established by President Obama in 2012, offered work authorization and temporary deferment from deportation to certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.  DACA enabled these immigrants—many of whom have known no other country but America—to come out of the shadows and contribute to their communities.  More than 800,000 individuals, known as Dreamers, have registered through DACA since the program began.

These Dreamers have voluntarily reported personal information about themselves and their families.  Dreamers have immense talents, gifts, and contributions to make.  Rescinding DACA is a violation of fundamental fairness, not to mention a grave disservice to communities and our country.

I have met countless Dreamers from Connecticut and heard how DACA has changed their lives for the better.

I have seen how these young men and women have contributed to their communities.  I have spoken repeatedly—on the Senate floor, in Judiciary Committee hearings, and elsewhere—of the importance of DACA and the positive impact it has had on countless people throughout Connecticut and the country.  In the wake of President Trump’s announcement, I convened an emergency field hearing in New Haven to hear from Connecticut residents affected by the decision to rescind DACA.  I brought their stories back to Washington to show my colleagues that this is not merely an abstract policy issue—this is a human issue with real-life consequences for families, our communities, our economy, and indeed the character of our country.

I will not rest until the Dream Act becomes law.  The Dream Act is a bipartisan bill that would protect DACA recipients by offering them a path to permanent residency and eventually citizenship if they go to college, work for a certain amount of time, or serve in the military.  It makes higher education more accessible by allowing Dreamers to access in-state tuition and college loans.  The Dream Act would also stop the deportation of school-age children who are eligible for DACA.

When I see Dreamers, I see my father, who fled Nazi Germany for refuge in the United States at the age of 17.

He spoke little English.  He knew virtually no one.  He had little more than the clothes on his back.  This country—the greatest country in the world—took him in and gave him a chance to succeed.  We are, and must be, the same country that welcomed my father.

We all have a part to play in advocating for Dreamers—and your voice is critically important as we fight to pass the Dream Act in Congress.

Richard Blumenthal, United States Senator for Connecticut