15 Years for Dreamer Citizenship is Too Long

Photo by Amir Farshad Ebrahimi

15 years is a long time. Ask my oldest son, who’s just over halfway there. There’s a good chance he won’t have even completed puberty by the time he turns 15.

More food for thought: 15 years ago, Mitt Romney was managing Utah’s 2002 Winter Olympics. A presidential bid might not have even entered his mind at that time, let alone the prospect of running and losing twice since then. Elizabeth Smart wasn’t yet a household name, Saddam Hussein was alive and well, and the world saw a camera in a phone — a flip phone — for the first time.

15 years is a long time.

Unfortunately, that’s the amount of time Republicans, including Sen. Orrin Hatch, are suggesting Dreamers wait before obtaining citizenship in a country they’ve known all or most of their lives. Earlier this week, Hatch joined two other Republican Senators, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and James Lankford of Oklahoma, in sponsoring the Succeed Act. It is the first bill to attempt to address the plight of Dreamers since President Donald Trump announced an end to the DACA program.

And while it does indeed provide a path to citizenship, waiting 15 years for it comes as almost an insult to people who have already been granted visas under DACA for attending high school, college, serving in the military, working, and paying taxes. By the way, Dreamers also have to prove they have no criminal records in order to stay in the country.

The point is that being born in America isn’t what makes its population great. That position smacks of entitlement and Trump’s misguided nationalism. Instead, it’s the willingness to sacrifice for a better tomorrow, to work hard, and learn. Utahns — with a history rooted in migrating pioneers — know this as much as anyone. They need a party and Congressional representative that share that same knowledge.


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