President Donald Trump’s demands for hard-line immigration policies in exchange for shielding young immigrants from deportation are frustrating local advocates and have renewed promises of a fight from one of the state’s senior congressional members.
In return for supporting a plan allowing people brought to this country illegally as children to stay and work, Trump is requiring congressional funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a crackdown on the influx of Central American minors and curbing federal grants to “sanctuary cities.”
The requirements were released late Sunday as reforms that “must be included” in any legislation addressing the status of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival recipients, sometimes referred to as Dreamers.
Supporters see the requirements as necessary to close border security loopholes, restore interior enforcement and reform the legal immigration system. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray said she and others in Congress are renewing promises to fight for the Dreamers and their families.
“We are making it clear that the young men and women who signed up for DACA will not be used as a bargaining chip for President Trump’s hateful agenda, and any attempts to build an ill-conceived wall or tear families apart is a non-starter,” Murray said in a statement to the Yakima Herald-Republic Monday.
As of earlier this year, there were about 18,000 DACA program recipients in the state. How many live in the Yakima Valley is unclear, but the number is believed to be substantial.
A significant part of the Yakima community is impacted daily by the administration’s changing promises and rhetoric, which creates trauma for those living in fear and uncertainty every day, said Laura Armstrong, executive director of La Casa Hogar, which works with the immigrant community, including DACA recipients.
Armstrong said what the administration is asking for doesn’t get to the heart of the problem.
“None of these solutions get at the issue of why people are coming to the United States,” she said. “I also think it’s important to stay awake to the narrative being told. The story that people are just streaming across our borders just isn’t accurate.”
The group helped many Dreamers reapply for DACA status before the Oct. 5 deadline and she said despite being optimistic during clinics to help people renew their status, there was an underlying sense of fear and uncertainty for the many Yakima residents who aren’t sure what ?their futures in America hold.
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