Ours is a nation of immigrants. The Statue of Liberty features the Emma Lazarus poem “The New Colossus,” which reads in part:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 

Our nation has welcomed immigrants both because we recognize the promise they bring and because we have a moral obligation to serve our fellow human beings. Immigrants live in our communities, learn in our schools, and pray in our churches. They work and pay taxes. They are Americans in every sense except on paper. Giving them a fair chance to obtain legal citizenship status is only right. For this reason, I endorse any and all legislation that supports immigrants as they pursue the American Dream.  

In 2012, President Obama brought forth the DACA program, bringing the United States one step closer to living up to its reputation as a land of opportunity. Under DACA, undocumented immigrants brought here as children are protected from deportation for two years, giving them an opportunity to obtain legal status. 

President Trump sought to end DACA without an alternative in place, putting the status of 700,000 people into limbo. Meanwhile, his administration attempted to construct a border as a symbol of xenophobia — a symbol costing American taxpayers up to $46 million per mile 

Fortunately, President Biden halted construction of Trump’s hateful border wall and attempted to reinstate DACA. However, a federal judge in Texas blocked DACA from accepting new applications. This is unacceptable — DACA or an equivalent must be fully restored and made permanent. That’s why I’ve cosponsored the American Dream and Promise Act to codify much of the DACA program.  

Immigrants risk everything in pursuit of better lives for their families and preventing them from doing so stands in direct opposition to the ideals of our nation. We must strive for more.