Congress Must Protect the Dreamers from Expulsion

Since President Trump announced his plan to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Dreamers in Rhode Island, Washington, and all across America have been faced with the constant uncertainty of whether they will be able to continue their lives here in America.

Hundreds of thousands of young people have built their lives here, and now live in fear of imminent deportation. These are hardworking young people who, through grit and determination, are pursuing higher education, working, starting small businesses, and contributing to our economy.

And as state leaders, we cannot and will not sit idly by as the federal government attempts to undercut their accomplishments and stand in the way of their continued success.

That's why we worked to support Dreamers and eliminate the financial barriers to those needing to renew their DACA status earlier this month. And it's why we are working hand-in-hand with local and national organizations to ensure Dreamers have the legal support and tools they need.

In Washington and Rhode Island, we're acting in the absence of strong leadership at the federal level, showing how local leaders are making sure that Dreamers can continue to live in the only country many of them have called home.

A mural celebrating Mexican history is painted on a wall along a commercial strip in the predominately Mexican Little Village neighborhood on October 16, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The U.S. Justice Department has accused four cities including Chicago, New York, New Orleans and Philadelphia of violating the law with their 'sanctuary city' policies. Scott Olson/Getty

And while we are committed to doing everything possible to supporting our young immigrants, it is not enough. We need Congress to finally step up and pass long-term, comprehensive legislation to protect Dreamers.

As governors, we are determined to stand up for the rights of DACA recipients in our own states, but also those across the country – and we aren't alone. Whether you're a parent, teacher, faith leader, military official, elected leader, small business owner or Fortune 500 CEO, supporting America's young immigrants is just common sense.

And that's why we're proud to stand with mayors, governors, business executives, national security and diplomatic officials, educators and faith leaders from coast to coast, Republicans and Democrats, in red and blue states, to join the Dream Coalition[], united by our collective commitment to supporting our Dreamers.

Together, we will fight to protect the safety and security of each and every Dreamer and ensure that Congress does not ignore the widespread support for Dreamers to continue working, living, studying, and contributing to our country.

As the old axiom says, actions speak louder than words. And in these times, we must learn to take action against injustices. We need to do more than just pound on the podium.

A strongly worded tweet will not protect the 800,000 Dreamers living in our country – but passing the DREAM Act will. We encourage leaders from around the country, both in the public and private sector, to join us as members of the Dream Coalition and lend your voice to the growing chorus demanding that Congress finally enact this bipartisan legislation.

We are a nation founded on lofty ideals, and as Americans we are often tested by the times we live in. Many of our country's greatest triumphs have resulted from meeting these challenges with the confidence and conviction of a nation united by common values: freedom, equality and justice.

By passing the DREAM Act, Congress can grant these deserving Dreamers all three.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo