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Beaverton Mayor: Breaking promise on DACA would be unfair
Like many of you, I have been deeply troubled by the news that the federal government will end the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. It is simply unfair.
Unfair to the young people who followed a directive from the federal government and did everything asked of them yet are now feeling the rug being pulled out from under them. Unfair to families, friends, teachers and neighbors who depend on these young people and have supported them in reaching for their dreams. And unfair to employers and communities that have invested in their success and are poised to harness their creativity and hard work to build a stronger local economy and social fabric.
DACA recipients are overwhelmingly hard workers and dedicated students who have already faced tremendous barriers yet are thriving. They are our emerging and future doctors, teachers, engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs, and they are motivated to contribute to the only country that they know as home. These are young people who arrived here as small children, grew up speaking English, going to local Beaverton schools, and playing alongside other kids in our neighborhoods. They developed a shared sense of connection to our local history, landmarks and beloved natural spaces. Many did not even know about their immigration status or how it would impact their lives until they became young adults and applied for college or for their first job. Around 800,000 of them nationally and 11,000 in our state have enrolled in the DACA program to have a chance to continue to pursue their dreams.
Now these young Americans face losing everything. They risk losing their right to work, access to educational opportunities, health care and even their drivers' licenses. They live with the fear that they could be deported back to a country they don't know. Many of them are correctly questioning the trust they had in the government in signing up for this program and if they will now instead become targets.
This is not how we build strong, vibrant communities, or trust in government. This is not the American dream.
What future are we setting up for these young people? What message are we sending to them, their families and communities? We made a promise to these young people: apply for this program, stay out of trouble, work hard and pursue your dreams and in exchange you will be protected while we figure out how to reform this broken immigration system.
America can and must do better. We must honor our commitment to people. I understand this is a federal issue but it has a local impact. It is affecting people in our city. It is affecting people's trust in all levels of government.
I want to say I am proud to live in a city that celebrates our diversity, is welcoming and inclusive, and we are here to help on this issue. We must fix this and local leaders are ready to work with federal officials to restore normalcy for our communities.
Denny Doyle has served as mayor of Beaverton since 2009. He is president of the League of Oregon Cities, and serves on the board of the National League of Cities.