A Thanksgiving for Dreamers

José López Zamorano | La Red Hispana 
Photo Credit: Nathan Dumlao / Unsplash

Exactly one year ago, hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers” and many more immigrants spent a bittersweet Thanksgiving, because after so many promises, the immigration reform with a route to citizenship that the Democrats and president Joe Biden promised them was not achieved.

On the eve of another Thanksgiving, the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers remain in limbo, hoping that after the November 8 elections it will be possible to revive a bill that guarantees them stability and legal certainty, during the works of the current legislature and before the next one takes office during the first week of January.

We know that some Democratic senators are racing against time to try to convince the 10 Republicans to join this initiative that represents a fair and deserved retribution for these hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who have become essential to the United States, especially during the pandemic.

Thanksgiving, the nation’s biggest holiday and a national reminder of the appreciation European settlers made for the generosity of the Wampanoag Indians, would be an excellent time to reach an agreement that recognizes the enormous contributions these young people and their families have made to the country.

Two of the main promoters of a legal reform in favor of the Dreamers, the Cuban-American Senator Bob Menéndez and the Illinois Senator Dick Durbin are in their shirtsleeves seeking the support of those 10 Republican colleagues who could make a difference in life of hundreds of thousands of young people.

Among the options that have come to light is the inclusion of aspects related to border security, in order to convince Republican senators that a sensitive, dignified and humanitarian immigration policy is not at odds with the need to safeguard the territorial integrity of the United States.

But unfortunately, Washington still lives in an atmosphere of polarization and political division. The most extreme sector of the Republican bench has made it clear that its number one priority will be the launch of investigations against the Biden family. Another sector wants to prioritize border control initiatives. On immigration reform, silence.

That is why Senator Durbin is right in the sense that any legislative vehicle in favor of the legalization of the Dreamers has to materialize before the end of the year, because all the signs indicate that the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives wants political revenge.

But the reality is that more than 400 years after that original Thanksgiving of 1620, the United States still hasn’t issued a formal thank you to the many undocumented immigrants who were key to keeping the country on its feet during the pandemic. A new law for Dreamers would be a great first step.