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DACA: Protect Our Dreamers

children, Children, Youth & Families, community, equity, justice
Young girl standing next to protest sign that reads, "Defend DACA"

The Administration’s decision to end DACA is an unusually cruel and short-sighted move in a lengthening season already rife with acts of targeting the vulnerable, sowing division and speaking from ugliness. The Heinz Endowments supports and applauds the responses of those in our community and across our country who are speaking up in support of the blameless young people that DACA was designed to protect.

We need to remember the Dreamers came here through no fault of their own, have grown up here, know only this as their home, and really have nowhere else to go that is truly “their” country. Their home is here; we are the only community they have. Will we really turn our backs on them—or, worse, evict them to “return” to a place they do not know?

That’s why protecting these Dreamers matters: not just for them, but for us. What do we get out of it? A large group of young people devoted to this country, educated in our schools, and unusually well-equipped to contribute to our economy as skilled workers, motivated leaders and dynamic entrepreneurs. No community knows better than Pittsburgh why that’s important.

But that’s the pragmatic answer. What we also get is the gift of our own humanity back. We get to reclaim our best humanitarian impulses. America has plenty of ugliness in its history and its present, but we are always proudest and strongest in those moments when we reach beyond those divisions, when we stop oppressing and start lifting, when we shift from dividing to uniting.

Hurting the Dreamers doesn’t help anybody. It only impoverishes us all. And if we let this stand, if we permit the use of these young people as pawns in a political game, it will be a pathetic abandonment of our values and a lasting scar on the most enduring asset we have as people and as a country: our character.

Written by:

Grant Oliphant