In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, authorizing the forced removal of 40,000 Native Americans from the Southeast. This forced migration—the Trail of Tears—killed thousands and swept away indigenous culture throughout Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi.

In 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which interned over 100,000 people, many of whom were United States citizens. This forced removal erased the historic presence of Japanese Americans in western cities.

On September 5, 2017, President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), paving the way for the removal of over 800,000 people (220,000 in California).

We, the members of the Association of Latino Marin Attorneys (ALMA), urge our representatives to take the necessary steps to avoid another tragic mistake. We urge you to pass legislation that would provide DACA recipients with permanent legal status.

DACA recipients, or “Dreamers,” are young men and women who came here as children, holding their mothers’ hands. They broke no laws, for they were only children, and the only home they have ever known is the United States.

Dreamers are our neighbors and classmates; they work in our hospitals and universities; they watch our children and care for our elderly; they fix our cars and build our homes; they pray in our pews, and they help protect us in our armed forces. Recently, many helped in hurricane recovery efforts in Texas and Florida. Dreamers are hard-working men and women raised in our communities. They dream of being able to continue contributing to their hometowns.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the United States uprooted tens of thousands of Americans from their homes, and history has judged us harshly for that. As a nation, we are again poised to make a similar mistake. We ask that this time Congress place America on the right side of history and pass legislation that will let young people—Americans in spirit and experience—live here legally and productively.

November 21, 2017