By MIKE HONDA
As an American, I proudly stand with President Obama’s landmark decision to protect young, hardworking, high-achieving, undocumented people and make us a more perfect union.
These young people did not choose to come to this country, and in fact, this country is the only home they have ever known. However, they choose to sacrifice their lives to fight for our country. They choose to pursue higher education and contribute to our society and economy. They choose to participate in the American life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I understand the challenges and struggles facing today’s American families. Reforming our nation’s broken immigration system in a fair and smart way makes sense for our communities, our businesses, and our security.
Two years ago, we faced a devastating Senate vote that dimmed the dreams of 2.1 million total Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act beneficiaries — the DREAMers. California is home to 26% of these DREAMers, more than any other state.
However, today, the Obama Administration’s policy change lightens the sky and brings relief, even if temporary, to these young people and their families.
In California, and throughout this country, I have stood side-by-side with the DREAMers and undocumented youth and witnessed their resiliency. As the president said, this is the “right thing to do.” I will continue to lead and fight for comprehensive immigration reform in Congress, especially on the front to reunite our families.
We expect our children to do well in school and to be good, law-abiding, productive citizens in our society — and the undocumented immigrant youths who will benefit from today’s announcement do just that. From building railroads to starting businesses, immigrants made, and continue to make, our country stronger, better, and more competitive.
Today is indeed a significant and emotional day for the estimated 800,000 beneficiaries of the president’s announcement. Today is a historic day for all Americans.
Honda, a Democratic congressman representing Silicon Valley, is chair emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. He posted this commentary on June 16. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of The Rafu Shimpo.