congress must take immediate action to protect Dreamers

President Trump's decision to end the DACA program is morally wrong. DACA provides deportation protection to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors and who meet certain eligibility requirements. For these Dreamers, some of whom were brought here when they were babies, the United States is the only home they know. 

My own family was welcomed to the United States as refugees when I was two years old. Like so many immigrant families, we risked everything to come to America because this country has always represented hope, opportunity, and freedom. I have worked with immigrant communities and families across the country seeking those same American ideals, while teaching ESL classes to detained asylum seekers in Newark, encouraging entrepreneurship in Detroit’s Latino community, running after-school programs for immigrant children in San Jose, and advocating for policies that would help immigrants reach their full career potential at the National Immigration Forum. I have used my opportunity in America to fight for all working families to get ahead, including by helping veterans and military spouses acquire job-skill training to achieve their own American Dream during my time at the U.S. Department of Labor. 

My story is not unlike those of nearly 20,000 DACA recipients living in Virginia, who contribute $700 million per year to our economy. These striving young adults are integral members of our communities, growing up in our neighborhoods, cheering for the same sports teams, and worshipping alongside us. Our Commonwealth and country benefit when these Virginians are able to come out of the shadows and realize their potential by being able to study for a better future; work, create businesses, and grow our economy; and defend our country through military service. 

The 42nd District is home to people who have been Virginians for many generations as well as those who have recently arrived from all corners of the globe. One important thread we have in common is that, for all of us, the United States embodies those most fundamental values of hope, opportunity, and freedom. Congress must now act quickly to extend those values to Dreamers and protect families from being torn apart.