THE 800,000 human lives problem!

As an immigration lawyer, immigrant and community advocate, Albert Baldeo knows firsthand that Dreamers deserve a better chance to succeed and help build America.

“O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.

Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

-The Star-Spangled Banner excerpt (The national anthem of the United States of America).

“America isn’t Congress. America isn’t Washington. America is the striving immigrant who starts a business, or the mom who works two low-wage jobs to give her kid a better life. America is the union leader and the CEO who put aside their differences to make the economy stronger.”

-Barack Obama

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), was introduced by President Obama in 2012 and brought hope and structure to the lives of 800,000 young people to date with the opportunity to live, work, drive, and participate openly in society without fear of apprehension and deportation from America-the only country they call home. It gave these “Dreamers” a chance to live the American dream.

The program’s termination is one of the most inhumane acts of disenfranchisement known to humanity and an affront to the highest principles of American civilization. We can no longer call ourselves “a nation of immigrants,” or “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” It will place hundreds of thousands of the young people directly affected in jeopardy and fear, and will collaterally affect their families, friends, and neighbors, as well as workplaces and educational institutions. It is most un-American. We have enough natural disasters affecting our lives to add more of our own creation!

The elimination of DACA without adopting an alternative solution is as tragic as it is draconian. It sends the wrong message to young people who grew up in our communities that they are not deserving of any rights, that they are inferior, and can be removed from that the US on a whim. The central requirement for strong, integrated societies-public trust in our government and laws, will be further eroded.

Trust me, I have personally experienced this abomination of laws and injustice. See, e.g. this Daily News article on how my American political aspirations were savagely abrogated: www.nydailynews.com/opinion/errol-louis-nyc-campaign-finance-tangle-article-1.2403316.

DACA, because of its basic goodness, has forged an emotional connection with the broader US population, called the “DACAmented” population-a sophisticatedly organized collection of sympathetic elements, with a presence in every corner of America. The time to act is now! It must flex its muscles, and mobilize resources and numbers. The DACA movement must never give up its collective rights to stay in America, and must not be silenced while forcing the legislative and executive branches to enact a permanent solution to a growing problem that can no longer be swept under the carpet.

A large number of states, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and DACA recipients have immediately petitioned the federal court to stop DACA’s termination. Three lawsuits have been filed thus far. One lawsuit was filed by 15 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.), another by the state of California individually, and a third by a DACA recipient and Make the Road New York (MRNY), all seek to have the court declare the administration and Department of Homeland Security’s DACA announcement unconstitutional. The widespread opposition to DACA’s repeal around the country must be supplemented by urgent Congressional action to reinstate and / or make the program permanent.

Remember President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s counsel to us, “Peace, like charity, begins at home.”

Note: Albert Baldeo is a civil rights activist and community advocate. As President of the Baldeo Foundation and Queens Justice Center, he has continued to fight for equal rights, dignity and inclusion in the decision making process. He can be contacted at the Baldeo Foundation: (718) 529-2300.

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