Don’t forget the Dreamers

“We are all dreamers.”

That is what speaker Valérie Berta-Torales said at the Rally for Dreamers in Columbia, Missouri — a rally I was lucky enough to attend Sunday.

A Dreamer, in legal terms, is someone who came to the United States illegally as a minor and has been able to, under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals remain in the US under a renewable two-year period free from risk of deportation.

A dreamer, in pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps social terms, is an ambitious person who wants to make a better life for themselves.

By saying we are all dreamers, Berta-Torales proposed a question to those blinded by their privilege of being born in the United States — don’t we all, in the end, want to make a better life for ourselves? Don’t we all have aspirations and dreams?

This makes me wonder, if we all have these dreams, why are only some allowed to pursue them? Why deny some people the pursuit of those dreams because they didn’t win the birth lottery?

Anti-immigration rhetoric in our current administration is full of hypocrisy. The US government can’t cling to their “American dream” ideologies yet simultaneously deny certain people the ability to make better lives for themselves by living in this country. They can’t tell the poor they aren’t working hard enough and don’t have enough drive or ambition while simultaneously denying immigrants, refugees and Dreamers the chance to make a better life for themselves by coming and working here.

President Donald Trump administration’s false narratives based on ethnocentric lies are about to have very real consequences.

DACA recipients’ two-year contracts will need to be renewed March 5, and last September Trump said he will not renew them and deportations of Dreamers are going to begin, according to a Feb. 16 NPR article. Whether this will actually happen or not is still unclear because of circuit court cases pushing back against these actions to buy more time for DREAMers, also according to NPR.

Mid-Missouri advocacy group CoMo for Progress estimates there are roughly 4,000 Dreamers in Missouri and according to a Jan. 23 Washington Post article there are about 3.6 million in the United States. I worry the Dreamers are becoming increasingly unsettled as they wonder if they will be able to stay here to further their education and careers.

I think it is unacceptable to leave Dreamers, our own people, waiting in limbo as they are left to wonder whether they will be stripped from their families and homes and sent to where the powers that be no longer have to deal with them.

If you, too, think this is unacceptable, call your representatives and tell them you not only want to keep DACA as a program for Dreamers but that you want Congress to create a detailed plan of support for this group of millions of people. Millions of dreamers, in every since of the word. At the end of the day, aren’t we all just trying to make a few of our dreams become realities?

The legislators can be reached at the following numbers — Sen. Roy Blunt at (202) 224-5721, Sen. Claire McCaskill at (202) 224-6154, Rep. Vicky Hartzler at (202) 225-2876 and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer at (202) 225-2956.