By Don Walton
Democratic congressional candidate Dennis Crawford suggested Wednesday he would be a more dependable supporter of DACA immigrants if he’s elected this November to succeed Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry in the House.
Responding to Fortenberry’s statement on Tuesday that he supports protection of the DACA youths as part of a comprehensive package of immigration reform and enhanced border security, Crawford said the congressman is “late to the party.”
“This sudden change of position follows years of opposition to immigration reform,” Crawford stated.
“In contrast, I have been a consistent supporter of DACA and the Dreamers.” he said.
The DACA immigrants came to the United States as babies or children when their parents or other adults entered the country illegally. They were granted legal presence in the United States under executive action taken by former President Barack Obama and are widely referred to now as the Dreamers.
DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the name of the program established under Obama.
President Donald Trump has rescinded that protection, effective March 5.
“As a member of Congress, I would vote to protect the Dreamers and fix our dysfunctional immigration system,” Crawford said.
Trump’s action already is resulting in an estimated 122 immigrants losing their DACA status every day, Jeff Sheldon, communications director for Nebraska Appleseed, said.
When the White House announced Trump’s decision last September, it gave everyone whose DACA status would expire before March 5 one month to apply for another year, Sheldon said, but many immigrants were unable to do so for a variety of reasons.
“So, what we have right now is people who are losing their DACA status and the protections and work permits that go with it every day,” Sheldon said.
“So that’s why we and many other advocates are stressing the urgency of acting now,” he said.
An estimated 3,400 DACA recipients live, work and go to school in Nebraska.