The fate of the Dreamers is floundering in the current political chaos. The majority of U.S. citizens want to protect undocumented children and young adults who were brought here by their parents so they would be safe and have the freedom to pursue educational and employment opportunities. We do not want to tear apart families and force the Dreamers to live in a country they may never have known. And, with our growing economy and tight labor market, we need them. Maine needs them.

Feb. 8, when the stopgap spending measure ends, will come quickly. Sens. Lindsey Graham, Dick Durbin and others have worked toward a bipartisan bill. This is the time to make our voices heard. Our congressional leaders cannot represent us if we do not write or call them.

President Trump has asked for $18 billion to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Do we want to increase our national debt for a wall? We can insist on a “clean” Dream Act, unattached to other funding, with a pathway to permanent residency.

A Dream Act is only the beginning of immigration reform. In recent years immigration authorities at the border have determined the majority of deportations, not judges. We need to hold our U.S. Customs and Border Protection accountable.

Trump has gutted our U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program for asylum seekers who have fled from domestic violence, the threat of gangs, armed conflicts and climate crises.

Anti-immigration fervor clashes with the history of our country and our values of human rights and social justice. It belittles our family stories and our ancestors who immigrated and worked any job so their children could flourish. This is our history, our strength. Let’s protect it and our Dreamers.

Beth Snyder

Elders for Future Generations

Portland