Guest editorial: Only Congress can fix things now

Farmington Daily Times

The dysfunction of the executive branch was on full display Tuesday as the Trump administration announced it would wind down the Obama-era presidential action that shields young immigrants from deportation.
That decision has thrown into upheaval the lives of nearly 800,000 young people, who, while not formally Americans, are American in virtually every sense. They dutifully followed the instructions of the last administration and registered for special designation under our immigration laws.
Now they fear, with good reason, that information could be used to deport them to a country where they have never lived and whose ways they have never known.
A competent administration would have found the grace and good judgment to reassure these young people and their families that the White House would work urgently with Congress to pass the protections they need.
But President Trump has proven once again he lacks the skills or desire to govern the nation without maximum turmoil. Instead he issued these ambiguous words:
 “I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.”
Such signaling strongly implies the White House is not interested in a solution, but has punted to Congress so that lawmakers can bear the entire responsibility of this sizable problem.
At a time when the executive is smoldering with ineptitude and indecision, the other institutions of the federal government must step up to fill the void and put out the fires.
The White House is aggressively pursuing a course of white-identity politics that is dividing the nation in ways truly ominous. Without a change of course, the tensions in the country could turn to more spasms of violence on the American street.
Congress has to reassure Americans it will urgently pursue new law that will protect the futures of the DACA 800,000.
To do otherwise is utterly indecent. The “Dream Kids” are our young people, whose every sensibility is American. They speak our language, they listen to our rock ‘n roll, they attend our public schools and eat our Big Macs.
By no fault of their own, they were brought to this country and raised as Americans. To turn our backs on them would be a violation of our morality and this nation’s highest ideals.
Only Congress can fix this now. Trump set the clock ticking. Six months. Congress has six months to demonstrate America's decency.
In his tweeted announcement, the president implied strongly he wants a legislative solution. That is cover for the most conservative members of the Arizona delegation to finally support a Dream Act that will provide a path to citizenship and a permanent solution for these kids.
Passing the Dream Act is a job Congress has shirked for decades. From the first bipartisan Dream Act in 2001 to the bipartisan Dream Act introduced this summer, Congress has had multiple chances. It remained paralyzed by politics.
The stakes are much higher now.
It is up to those in Congress who care about fairness.
It is up to those who are willing to stand up and defend young people who have done nothing wrong.
And it is up to those who have the courage to stand for America’s highest ideals.
Arizona Republic, Sept. 5