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A Letter from the Hillsboro City Council on Preserving the DACA Program
The following letter from the Hillsboro City Council, dated September 27, 2017, was sent by mail and email to the offices of Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Ron Wyden, and Representative Suzanne Bonamici.
We write to you today with great concern and, simultaneously, great hope that you and your honorable colleagues in the United States Congress will take action to protect undocumented residents who arrived in America as children and may be forcibly deprived of the American Dream without help.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program must be continued. We see it as our moral duty to protect our friends and neighbors, our brothers and sisters, and, most importantly, our children and young adults whom we love and treasure. These community members have come forward to be part of the DACA program, making the difficult decision to place their trust in our government.
We are personally vested in the DACA program’s future through the many Dreamers who call our city home. One young woman, 17-year-old Fatima, who preferred that her last name be withheld from this letter, has served as a member of our Youth Advisory Council and dreams of graduating from Western Oregon University or the University of Portland, then starting her career as a second grade teacher. We know she will succeed in whatever she pursues. Already, she has worked for the City of Hillsboro as a summer intern and an on-call Library staff member, all while completing her studies at Hillsboro High School. Fatima is one example of the many Hillsboro community members who are vulnerable because of the uncertainty of the DACA program’s future.
Historically, the federal Bracero program brought more than 215,000 migrant farm workers to the United States from Mexico and Latin America. Washington County hosted many of these vital laborers in an effort to ensure our local farms could continue to provide food for Americans during World War II. Their journey planted the seeds for future generations to dream of life in America, even knowing their youngest children might be at risk someday.
We take great pride in Hillsboro’s police officers, firefighters, librarians, and all City of Hillsboro employees who never ask about a person’s immigration status, and who faithfully serve all in our community.
Our population is among the most diverse in Oregon. Nearly one in four Hillsboro residents are Hispanic or Latino. Our neighbors contribute so much to our city. Our community is in full support of protecting our undocumented youth, many of whom have spent their entire adolescence in Hillsboro and Washington County. The DACA program must remain.
We wish you and your honorable colleagues success and courage in protecting our people.
Mayor Steve Callaway
Council President Darell Lumaco
Councilor Olivia Alcaire
Councilor Kyle Allen
Councilor Anthony Martin
Councilor Fred Nachtigal
Councilor Rick Van Beveren