The following post, written by the Rev. Robert A. Franek, is a part of Politicus Policy Discussion, in which writers draw connections between real lives and public policy.
The month of September began with the Trump Administration rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. And a few weeks later the month ended with Congress failing to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
With these two actions alone millions of families face uncertainty in providing healthcare for their children and hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are suddenly fearing whether or not they will be sent away from the only home they have ever known. This is not right. Moreover, the fear and anxiety now faced by these families was completely avoidable.
There was no need for the DACA program to be rescinded. And if the Republicans in Congress could focus on something other than appeasing their wealthy donors, perhaps they would not have let the funding for the CHIP program lapse.
Contending with the propaganda promoting the Republican tax plan, the latest developments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and now the thought of a child molester being seated in the United States Senate, it is easy for the DACA and CHIP stories to get drowned out in all the noise.
It is imperative that the lives of these vulnerable neighbors of ours not be lost in the news cycle where the only news is breaking news whether another mass shooting or new testimony in the Trump-Russia investigation.
It is now the middle of November and little has been done to provide Dreamers with the assurance of legal statues, a path to citizenship, and most crucially the knowledge that they need not live in fear of be being separated from family and friends, school or job, and sent to a country they have never known and where they may not even know the language.
It is especially despicable that nine million children have become subject to whims of Congressional Republicans who failed to fund an essential health insurance program.
The moral depravity of these inactions is only further compounded by what Congressional Republicans are spending their time on, namely a tax plan that is built on an economic fiction and promises a two trillion-dollar wealth transfer from the poor and middle-class to the richest people and corporations in the country.
It might be understandable if the crafting of something as complex as immigration reform were tabled for a short while so Congress could pass some commonsense gun reform laws that the majority of the public want like background checks and reinstituting the ban on assault rifles. Still, there is no excuse for failing a simple vote to fund a program that provides health insurance for nine million children.
Time is running short for Dreamers and state funds for CHIP are running low. In the flurry and frenzy of new scandals and tragedies that wear on the spirit of our country, we must not forget the nine million children who have no say in these matters and the 700,000 Dreamers who enrich our country with their lives and service.