DREAMers Should Not Be Political Pawns


When I check into online discussions among DREAMers about the new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, one of the most common subjects is whether young people should wait until after the elections to apply. The DREAMers say they worry that their futures may depend on who is elected president. I have heard the same thing at the 15 information sessions I have given on Deferred Action.

The work permits issued under this program are good for two years. President Obama has said that he will renew them every two years. When Mitt Romney was asked, he did not say what he would do about the DREAMers. DREAMers have to worry that if they apply for deferred action, and Romney is elected, that he may not renew their permits leaving them undocumented again. Some have also said that they even fear that they will then be rounded up and deported.

The DREAMers say that they hope that Mr. Romney will be pressed on this issue by the media in the next few weeks. These young people tell me they need to be reassured that he will continue this humanitarian program. While Mitt Romney said eight months ago that he would veto the DREAM Act, they hope that now that thousands of young people have already applied for Deferred Action his January position has begun to shift. One DREAMer told me that the first question every reporter asks him from now on should be “What will you do about the DREAMers?”

CARECEN is offering a free information session about the new Deferred Action program on Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 3:30 PM at 91 N. Franklin St. Suite 208 in Hempstead, N.Y. Call 516-489-8330 for more information.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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