WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Trying to keep their dreams alive. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) is joining a bipartisan effort to help undocumented children in the United States. He is one of 10 senators pushing the “DREAM Act,” legislation that will grant permanent residence to these children who meet certain criteria. Gardner says these children don’t deserve to be punished.
Sen. Gardner (R-CO) says he is looking to protect children who entered the U.S. through no fault of their own.
It would keep undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who entered the country before they turned 18. Hundreds of thousands of them are currently protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). The program, enacted by an Obama administration executive order, could be headed for a Congressional stamp of approval.
“I look at the kids in my daughter’s class and I don’t see an illegal kid. I see a kid who has gone to school with her since kindergarten,” said Gardner.
Gardner is one of four Republicans backing the bill alongside six Democrats, including his Colorado colleague Michael Bennet (D-CO). It would give permanent residence to those who've been in the U.S. for four years, haven’t committed crimes and meet certain educational requirements. Gardner says these children came to the U.S. through no fault of their own.
“In Colorado, it’s a number of kids around the state. A number of people who, for all intents and purposes, know no other country but this one,” said Gardner.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have just a few months to come up with legislation to legalize the presence of undocumented children. President Trump recently said he would end protections for these children if Congress can’t come to an agreement. Not everyone is on board with the legislation as written.
“You had people who decided they wanted to break those laws, and then we’re essentially rewarding that bad behavior,” said Rob Law, director of governmental affairs at the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Law says he is concerned that if given permanent residence, these “Dreamers” could then sponsor entry for their unlawful relatives.
“If we’re going to use the narrative that these people were brought here through no fault of their own, then clearly their parents were at fault. So why in the world would our proposal reward them as well,” said Law.
The “DREAM Act” is currently sitting in the Senate Judiciary Committee.