Nebraska’s only Latino senator says it’s time to act now that President Donald Trump has rescinded the DACA program.
President Trump has ended the program enacted through executive order by President Barack Obama in 2012.
State Sen. Tony Vargas of Omaha sees the president’s move to end DACA as a call to action.
“The time for faith, only faith, is over,” Vargas tells Nebraska Radio Network. “We need to have faith, but we also need to make sure that we’re inciting action, engendering meaningful change that insures that our elected officials understand that this is a nonpartisan issue.”
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program provided legal status for those brought into the country illegally as children. A number of states, including Nebraska, challenged the constitutionality of enacting immigration reform through an act of the president, rather than through a law passed by Congress.
The president has provided a six-month grace period in which Congress can approve a replacement.
This issue is person for Vargas.
“It is personal for me,” Vargas says. “I look at every single one of the DREAMers that I’ve ever met and I see myself. I see my parents. I’m first generation in this country. My parents came from Peru and I cannot imagine a world where I was not an American citizen.”
The tag, DREAMers, comes from a proposed legislation entitled Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. The DREAM Act has never passed Congress.
Vargas says President Trump took the action without considering the social and economic impact of withdrawing legal status from approximately 800,000 youth, slightly more than 3,000 in Nebraska. He says the action also provides no real pathway of support for the DACA youth.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]