This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. While I am disappointed in the actions of the current administration, I am hopeful that Congress will take this opportunity to protect these young Americans. DACA was a presidential executive order and these types of orders are not permanent solutions, an act of Congress will be permanent.
At the local level, mayors see firsthand how federal actions have a direct impact on people’s lives. With DACA, we can never forget we are dealing with people, and in this case children and young adults. There are 28,000 individuals supported by DACA in Arizona and many of them live here in Mesa. More than 60 percent of them were brought to this country by their parents before turning 8 years old. They grew up as Americans and they deserve the opportunity to go to college, start businesses, raise families and contribute to our culture and economy. They are living proof of the American Dream.
I don’t want any of Mesa’s DACA residents to slip into the shadows in fear of deportation. Even worse, be afraid to report a crime or feel unsafe in our community. That is not the Mesa Way nor the American Way. I am putting my trust in our Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake and so far, I like what I hear. They are committed to finding a permanent solution for America’s Dreamers. Recently, I joined more than 60 mayors across 29 states and the District of Columbia in the DACA National Day of Action, a coast-to-coast effort by the U.S. Conference of Mayors to show support for protecting Dreamers.
I am confident that we as a country can still fulfill the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
– John Giles is the mayor of Mesa.
NOTE: Source for the 60 percent brought here before the age of 8 stat is from the 2017 National DACA Survey: https://cdn.americanprogress.org/content/uploads/2017/08/27164928/Wong-Et-Al-New-DACA-Survey-2017-Codebook.pdf