By Perla Davis
President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) program endangers the lives of countless Californian immigrants like myself, and now the Dream Act is being held hostage in return for more dollars that will be spent on ripping immigrant families apart by expanding Trump’s deportation force in the borderlands and beyond. If we have ever needed our Congressperson to demonstrate strong leadership, it is now.
So far, Rep. Darrell Issa has, at best, a mixed record when it comes to the safety of the thousands of immigrant families in his community.
Even though he voted “No” on the Dream Act in 2010, he is now pushing for a DACA fix. But when 34 of his fellow Republican House GOP members signed a letter asking Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to hold a vote to protect Dreamers before the year-end, Rep. Issa decided not to sign it.
He opposed spending billions of federal taxpayer dollars on Trump’s border wall. That’s good. But Rep. Issa has so far refused to take a strong stance against Trump’s call to for more funding for his deportation force, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which includes the Border Patrol.
Now more than ever, we need Rep. Issa to unconditionally oppose President Trump’s proposed budget increases for these agencies. People in his district also need him to demonstrate strong leadership when it comes to protecting immigrants.
California’s immigrant families are living in a heightened state of unrelenting fear and anxiety. The almost 40 percent increase in immigrant arrests and detentions over the past year and the shameful, hateful rhetoric our president continues to spew against immigrants speak for themselves.
Trump’s budget could take this problem and make it even worse. Congress is expected to vote on a 20 percent budget increase for ICE and CBP. At the same time, there are programs that families across Rep. Issa’s district, California and the nation that remain on the chopping block. While Congress looks at investing in agencies that rip parents away from their children, the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) remains on the chopping block. While Congress considers throwing over a billion dollars at the President’s proposed border wall, programs like Head Start are primed for the cutting.
San Diego is our nation’s largest border city and hundreds of thousands of immigrants live here. As a man of the people, San Diegans need Rep. Issa not only to look out for the welfare of the people who live here but to also draw a deep line in the sand and stand strongly and vocally against funding the president’s deportation machine.
Rep. Issa should share with the country the stories of those of us living in his district. He should reach out to other members of his own party to build support for the immigrant families he represents. He should support a bipartisan Dream Act before the end of the year, and reject any efforts to fund Trump’s deportation machine.
My safety and that of my family and friends depend on it.
Perla Davis is a DACA recipient currently residing in Rep. Issa’s district.