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Columns

Congress, Do the Right Thing for DREAMers

January 17, 2018 - 6:00am

As a child growing up in public housing, my mother always taught me that with hard work and a focus on education, I could accomplish my goals and live my dreams, the American dream. Unfortunately, that is not the case for hundreds of thousands of children in America today.

Through no fault of their own, these children face uncertainty about their future and their ability to succeed or even remain in America. These are the “DREAMers," the children who were brought to America by their parents via illegal immigration. 

I’ve long been an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration and I remain so. But I refuse to watch these children be punished for the actions of their parents. The United States has become the home for these children -- and this should absolutely not be a partisan issue, or even a political issue. While I understand that they did not arrive here in accordance with our country’s immigration laws, it is simply not right to hold these children accountable for that.

Congress needs to secure the immigration status of DREAMers under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Additionally, it is perfectly logical for Congress, at the very same time, to take real steps to secure our borders. Personally, I just don’t see how doing the right thing for these kids, and doing the right thing for our country by securing our borders, are partisan issues. These are just plain common-sense actions for Congress to take.

It’s time to stop trying to make this complicated. It’s also time for the folks in Washington to stop talking about “comprehensive” immigration reform. Washington struggles to do anything right, let alone to do something comprehensively right. Whenever they talk about a “comprehensive” anything in Washington, one thing you know for certain -- nothing will get done. 

There is no doubt that there are many other immigration reforms that should be considered. Congress should look at all those issues, but they should stop the fanciful notion of doing everything at once. Congress has to stop trying to get the grand bargain done, since baby steps are about all we can ask or expect from this Congress. And Congress must take care of the DREAMers and secure the border.

Florida is a welcoming state and is home to people from all around the world. We are a tremendous melting pot where more than 200 languages are spoken. However, former president Barack Obama was wrong to address this issue by executive order. He should have done it in conjunction with Congress, which is how our democracy works. 

I was encouraged by the approach of Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo to address this problem with the Recognizing America’s Children Act, which was co-sponsored by leaders in the Florida delegation, Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. DREAMers have waited too long for a legal solution for their future in the country they call home, and this bill provides one.

I believe that immigration policy becomes much simpler once we secure our borders and we put an end to illegal immigration. It completely escapes me why anyone opposes securing our borders, and why critics in Congress try to use their opposition to border security as some kind of a bargaining chip. In an increasingly dangerous world, don’t all Americans want our borders to be secure? Safety is not a partisan issue. Simply put, I believe that legal immigration makes our country stronger, and illegal immigration makes us weaker.

In Florida, we pride ourselves on being the gateway to the world. Many DREAMers live in our state because they are in search of what we all care about: a good job, a good education and the ability to live in a safe community. It’s time for Washington to secure our borders and to do the right thing for these kids by removing the uncertainty hanging over their future goals and dreams. It’s really not too much for us to ask Congress to get these things done.

Rick Scott is the 45th governor of Florida. Follow him on Twitter: @FLGovScott. This op-ed first was published in USA Today newspapers.

Comments

Since when has politicians just done the right thing? They do whatever for whoever is paying the bills. Nothing more, nothing less... Seems you had a big problem with doing the right thing when you were at HCA, huh Scott?

Rick Scott is taking whatever positions he can away from being the sole franchise of Bill Nelson. I am not shocked as I never viewed Scott as a man of principle or some holy grail conservative. He claimed and outsider's credentials and used his own money to win an election. Fair enough. But he no longer is an outsider and he's learned the art of both sides mouth speaking. Nothing to see here.

Is this Tricky Ricky?? It's hard to trust politicians when we know they need $$$ for campaigns and try to appeal to those special interests. We still have Common Core so many parents think they'll escape by sending children to charter schools but these are "for profit" and open to corruption. Charlotte Iserbyt-the guru of education-feels we need to get back the control of the public schools. In fact, Nancy A Bailey wrote America's Schools:The Fight to Reclaim Public Education. Also Joy Pullmann wrote in the Federalist that Bill Gates "Tacitly Admits His Common Core Experiment Was A Failure. How much time and $$$has been wasted? How much do we pay for illegals?? Here in Fl they get "in state" tuition. I send my donations to the needy in Kentucky!!!!

This country was built on the shoulders and hard work of people who entered the country legally under whatever immigration laws applied at the time. They went through a process that ultimately led to their full citizenship. Those here illegally have broken our laws and must be treated accordingly. Aside from the children they either brought in or gave birth to here, they should be returned to their countries of origin and, if still interested in becoming USA citizens, allowed to apply for legal entry and possible future citizenship. The future status of their children should depend on several factors... their expressed desire to become citizens; educational and employment status; service in our armed forces. Programs to permit those here illegally to bring in other family members should be ended and those who have overstayed VISAs or who have entered under Lottery programs (which should be disallowed) should be deported. The order in which all of the foregoing is done should be prioritized but carried out in an expeditious manner.

I agree 100%. Now Scott will have a hard time finding conservative workers for his campaign or votes. This makes him no better then Nelson.

NO !..... DO THE RIGHT THING FOR AMERICAN CITIZENS !!! Send them home to their s...holes so they can apply what they learned here to aid and help their friends and relatives stuck in those s...holes; Granted there's no daily Mercedes Benz "rides" for them there, but they owe much help to the countries of their "family origin" now that they've learned what a "Democratic Republic" actually is !

fine and dandy for a scumbag on the gov't teet from NY. Haul ass back and get a job...

This article is a transparent attempt by Rick Scott to garner the Latino vote by shaming opponents of DACA. Do the right thing he writes, well the right thing is send these illegal aliens back to their home countries where they can petition entrance into the U.S. the legal way, the Right way. At the same time their illegal parents should not be lost in the shuffle, obviously they should also be deported.

Riick Scott made his money the old fashioned way. He stole it from the government. These people - and their parents - should be dreaming on the bus ride back to Mexico. You been deported and come back face a firing squad. Right then. They would catch the drift. Build the wall.

These dreamers should not be given a special path to citizenship. Legalization ok but not citizenship. If they want to become citizens they need to go through the full process of legal immigration and then apply for naturalization. I think there is probably a way it can be done without going to a country where they have no ties or speak the language, but there should be no relief in the full process.

Rewarding illegals with citizenship is disgusting. What about all the people following lawful immigration procedures? This amnesty is a punishment for THEM. Over 76% of these so called 'children' are now an average age of 28. The crime rate for the 'DREAMERS' is 200% of an average LEGAL American citizen. This article sounds like an election year promo for Scott for Senate in South Florida.

Sending these people home cannot be regarded as punishment. It is called cleaning up a mess left behind by Presidents Bush and Obama. America for Americans!

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