Saturday, February 24, 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: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the stateís safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last weekís massacre ...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Associationís solid w...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nationís conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places ó South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington ó as survivors, victimsí families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasnít enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldnít take months or another tragedy for Florida ó which is hot and full of seniors ó to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. Thatís why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.íí A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he wonít raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trumpís claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nationís 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18