On the eve of a possible government shutdown while politicians negotiate the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, some King County legislators joined onto a letter urging US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children.
Washington State is home to 19,000 DACA Dreamers whose fates are uncertain as a March deadline for DACA expiration looms. McConnell has called Democrats' threats to shut down the government over DACA—and the Children's Health Insurance Program—"irresponsible."
King County Council Members Claudia Balducci, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Joe McDermott, Dave Upthegrove, Rod Dembowski, and Larry Gossett joined 63 other county officials from across the country in calling on McConnell to strike a bipartisan DACA deal. Republican County Council Member Kathy Lambert's name was conspicuously absent from the letter. Lambert also represents King County's third district, including some of the county's most rural and immigrant-dependent areas.
Here's some of what the council members wrote:
Dreamers cannot, and should not, live under the ever-present threat of deportation. DACA recipients have passed background checks. They pose no threat. Threatening deportation is not how valued young people in our communities, our constituents who grew up in this country and share our common values, should be treated. They deserve to feel safe and secure in their pursuit of the American Dream. Fixing this, and fixing this now, is the right thing to do. Dragging out a solution leaves our youth in ambiguity, at a precious and pivotal time in their lives when life choices can determine their destiny.
We add our collective voice to those calling on Congress to make it your highest priority to pass bipartisan legislation providing these young Americans the permanent solution they deserve.