Thursday, September 20, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Trump needs to protect dreams and Dreamers

They are students. They are employees. In some cases, they are employers. They are Americans in every possible way except for the one over which they have no control: their place of birth. These are the Dreamers, the beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, and they deserve better than to have their world upended by political pandering.

Yet that is exactly what is happening behind the scenes in Washington and elsewhere. The attorneys general in 10 states, led by Ken Paxton of Texas, have threatened to sue if the White House does not rescind DACA protections before Congress returns to work Tuesday. President Donald Trump promised to wipe out the policy while on the campaign trail in 2016, had an apparent change of heart after the election and has been largely silent the past couple of months.

The executive order, signed by Barack Obama in 2012, gives some legal status to immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents. They can work, pay taxes, get drivers' licenses and go to college. They must have high school diplomas, or be working toward one, and have no criminal blemishes on their record. Their status has to be renewed every two years. In other words, they must be educated, productive citizens — exactly what anyone would want of their own children.

But that's not enough for a handful of Republican attorneys general. Emboldened by a 2015 injunction that prevented Obama from providing similar protection for the parents of Dreamers in a policy known as DAPA, they are now going after teenagers and young adults who have committed no crime other than being brought to this country as children. (Florida, under Attorney General Pam Bondi, was one of 26 states that challenged DAPA in court. Bondi is not part of the current DACA threat.)

Considering that a lawsuit would end up in the same courtroom as the judge who issued the 2015 injunction, there is understandable concern that DACA's future is on shaky legal ground. The original injunction was later affirmed by a split Supreme Court that has since added conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch to the bench. This all raises the possibility that Trump might pre-emptively end the policy rather than have his Justice Department fight for an Obama legacy. That would be a regrettable mistake.

These are young people who have been in this country for 10, 15, 20 years. Young people who have sat in public school classrooms with the rest of our children. They are workers who pay taxes and buy products. There are roughly 33,000 DACA recipients in Florida who could potentially be put out of work or school and face deportation if their waivers are not renewed.

With polls showing a strong majority of Americans in favor of DACA protections, there is suspicion that the lawsuit is a political threat meant to force Congress into working on a comprehensive immigration overhaul. Essentially, the Dreamers would be a pawn in a political game. If Congress gets tough on border security and ramps up deportation of non-Dreamers, then perhaps current DACA recipients could have a path toward citizenship.

That would be a cynical and cruel strategy. Basically, it would force Dreamers to choose citizenship for themselves and sacrifice their parents, who would likely face deportation. A country built on immigrants should be better than that. Trump should unequivocally affirm his support for DACA this week rather than move to kill it, and he should urge fellow Republicans to denounce the threats coming from the attorneys general.

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Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

The heated debate on immigration could benefit from some more facts, which the U.S. Census has helpfully provided. And the facts show that rather than building walls, the United States would do far better to keep opening doors to legal immigrants. Th...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

The federal Food and Drug Administration is bringing important scrutiny to the increasing use of e-cigarettes, requiring companies that make and sell them to show they are keeping their products away from minors. Vaping is the new front in the nation...
Published: 09/18/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

The Senate and the nation needs to hear more about the sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Setting aside Kavanaugh's judicial record, his political past and the hyper-partisan divide over his nomination, a no...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

The Tampa City Council has yet to hear a compelling reason to allow a private social club in a residential neighborhood off Bayshore Boulevard, and a final meeting on the matter scheduled for Thursday offers the council a chance to show the diligence...
Published: 09/14/18
Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Florence began lashing down on the Carolinas Thursday and was expected to make landfall early Friday, washing over dunes, downing trees and power lines and putting some 10 million people in the path of a potentially catastrophic storm. Flor...
Published: 09/13/18
Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Gov. Rick Scott has headed down a dangerous path by announcing he has started the process to fill three upcoming vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court as he heads out the door. But to his credit, the governor indicated his "expectation’’ is that he ...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18
Editorial: Stalled U.S.-Cuba relations hurting Florida business

Editorial: Stalled U.S.-Cuba relations hurting Florida business

After an encouraging start, the breakdown in America’s reset with Cuba is a loss for both sides and for the state of democracy across the region. Havana and Washington are both to blame, but the Trump administration’s hard line with Cuba is out of sy...
Published: 09/12/18
Lessons from Moonves’ ouster

Lessons from Moonves’ ouster

If the swift departure of CBS Chairman Les Moonves has a bright side, it’s that a major television network took accusations of sexual harassment against its chief executive seriously enough to hold him accountable and obtain his resignation even at t...
Published: 09/11/18
Updated: 09/14/18