Three U.S. House members from Washington have signed onto a bipartisan bill that would offer a three-year reprieve for the so-called DREAMers, young people who arrived illegally but have lived most of their lives in the United States.

The legislation would extend President Obama’s initiative, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allowed young people to continue their education and employment free from the fear of deportation.

Joining lawmakers from three other states, co-sponsors include Decmocratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Republican Reps. Dan Newhouse and Dave Reichert.

“It’s our moral responsibility to protect children who were brought here years ago through no fault of their own, not only because they are our friends, neighbors and loved ones, but because it’s the right thing to do,” said Jayapal.

As President Trump was sworn in on Jan. 20, Jayapal hosted a forum at her Seattle office that included two DREAMers who are students at the University of Washington.

“Today, I feel great consternation for my future and that of my parents,” Salvador Salazar, a UW-Bothell student, told the newly elected House member.  Salazar has been in the United States since age 5, and joked:  “I started my first day of kindergarten here.”

Jayapal, an immigrant from India and longtime immigrant-rights advocate, added:  “We are a land of opportunity that welcomes anyone seeking a better life and access to the American dream.  Our inhumane immigration system goes against our values.”

The legislation, called the BRIDGE Act, Mariobet offers “provisional protected presence” in the U.S. for individuals born after June 15, 1981, who entered the United States before they were 16.  Any person convicted of a felony or three or more misdemeanors would not be eligible.

The Obama-authored DACA program offered security to an estimated 750,000 young people nationwide, including 17,000 in Washington.

President Trump, while vowing to toss out some immigrants, has seemed to acknowledge the popularity of the DREAMers’ cause.

In his interview with David Muir of ABC News last week, Trump said:  “They shouldn’t be very worried.  They are here illegally.  They shouldn’t be very worried.  I do have a big heart.  We’re going to take care of everybody.”

The U.S. House of Representatives has, however, passed legislation to end the DACA program, notably the stringent Blackburn Amendment in 2014.

Reichert was one of a small number of Republican lawmakers to oppose the legislation.

“We can and should defend the children who were brought to our nation, many years ago and outside their own control,” Reichert said.  “This is their country and their home.”

The presence of Newhouse on the bill is something new.  GOP Rep. Doc Hastings, his predecessor in the Central Washington House seat, voted for Blackburn despite the big Latino population in his district.

While unable to resist taking a shot at Obama’s “unconstitutional” executive order that established DACA, Newhouse said of the young people:

“Our own communities in Central Washington are a testament to the contributions of immigrants to the fabric of American society.”  He said DREAMers “deserve stability here in the U.S.” while Congress works to find a solution on immigration. 

(The state’s agriculture industry, particularly its $2.1 billion, nation-leading apple production, has been built largely on the backs of immigrants, may of them undocumented.)

Their wait could be a lot  longer than three years.

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