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Republicans should move on immigration reform

As vice president of my College Republican Club and member of the Utah GOP, I am frustrated with my party’s inability to act on immigration reform.

I have watched a wave of anxiety spread over my campus, now that Dreamers – those young immigrants who came here as undocumented children – may be subject to mass deportation. And yet, as President Trump has made clear, Congress has the ability to solve this problem. So why don’t they?

I’m not alone in my frustration. Across Republican and conservative ranks, there is overwhelming support to give Dreamers a pathway to citizenship in exchange for an increase in border security.

A new poll released by New American Economy and TargetPoint Consulting found that 80 percent of conservative and Republican voters would support such legislation. Eighty-six percent of Trump’s base would support it. And yet Congress is dragging its heels.

If my party doesn’t act on this issue, they are missing a critical opportunity to show that they can represent the young conservative voters like myself. Republicans ages 18 to 34 have emerged as a key voting bloc for many Republican-held offices, and the polls reveal that we do not agree with our party’s fringe.

According to the new data, 88 percent of young Republican voters age want citizenship for Dreamers, and 79 percent support a deal that includes funding to build a wall. They echo the Republican Party’s position that deporting Dreamers is both a poor moral and economic choice.

In Utah, more than 91 percent of our state’s 13,600 protected Dreamers are employed and pay taxes. Nationally, the vast majority have graduated from high school and taken at least one college course.

The original March 5 deadline, which Trump set to end protections for Dreamers, has come and gone, so we can’t afford to wait any longer for a deal. Both parties agree that legislation must be passed. Now the politicians need to do their jobs and make it happen. Instead of dealing out policy ultimatums, Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Mitch McConnell need to work alongside democrats for an amicable solution that recognizes both concerns for national security and social justice.

This is a historic moment that will determine the future of the nation’s 1.3 million DACA-eligible immigrants. But let’s not forgot there are millions of young conservative voters looking on, waiting to see if their leaders are courageous enough to the right thing: protect the Dreamers, secure our borders and give young conservatives a reason to feel proud of their party.

(Author Jaedri Wood is a sophomore at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.)

(In this Sept. 1, 2017 file photo, Loyola Marymount University student and a DACA recipient Maria Carolina Gomez joins a rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program, outside the Edward Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles. Photo: Damian Dovarganes-AP)

Published Date: Sunday, April 8th, 2018 | 10:30 PM

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