Recent editorials from South Carolina newspapers:
The Post and Courier
'Dreamers' should have real protections
About 6,500 South Carolina residents now depend on congressional action in order to safely and securely continue to …
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About 6,500 South Carolina residents now depend on congressional action in order to safely and securely continue to live in the only place that many of them have ever known as home. Lawmakers should act to protect them.
The executive order that initially granted temporary legal status to those vulnerable people - Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals - was a flawed solution to a problem that still needs solving.
Lots of young people, commonly referred to as "Dreamers," are brought to the United States through no fault of their own and grow up here, feeling more at home in this country than in their native one. Many of them graduate from high school, attend college, join the military and otherwise contribute to society in valuable ways.
Dreamers' contributions to the economy are valued at several billion dollars per year, according to the Brookings Institution. Removing them would be a moral and economic catastrophe.
They deserve the chance to stay and work toward permanent legal status.
But DACA was also an egregious presidential overreach, and as an executive order rather than a piece of legislation, it was all too easy to undo. President Trump signed his own order repealing DACA in September and gave Congress until March to come up with a plan to protect roughly 800,000 Dreamers.
Mr. Trump's approach is the right one. Immigration policy should be handled by Congress. So far, however, Congress has stalled on the issue. And the clock is ticking.
While DACA might have been an abuse of executive power, its provisions are sensible. Applicants must either be in school, have graduated high school or gotten a GED or served in the military. They cannot have a criminal record.
And DACA only provided "deferred action" - a sort of laissez faire approach to deportation - rather than permanent legal status or citizenship. That basic framework should easily garner bipartisan support from lawmakers. An even better bill would strengthen background checks and create a legal pathway to permanent residency.
Of course, Congress also needs to work on a broader immigration overhaul. It is too easy to enter the country and stay here illegally and too hard to gain entry and residency for those who follow the rules.
Generally, DACA beneficiaries are the type of immigrants the United States should seek out and support. They are young, educated, upstanding community members and proud of their adopted home.
Dreamers deserve real protections that will help them continue to contribute to society secure in the knowledge that they won't be deported simply for having been brought to this country illegally by their parents.
Congress owes them a solution.
Lawmakers should focus on transparency
It's that time when we reflect on the year that was and focus on the year that lies ahead.
Many of us celebrated the close of 2017 as we also welcomed 2018 at the strike of midnight. As we review last year, we will jot down resolutions - promises to ourselves about how we will lose weight, eat healthier, quit smoking, exercise more, get up earlier, keep a daily journal and - well, fill in the blank with your own resolution - with a vow to do better in the year that lies ahead of us.
Certainly, there is nothing wrong with that. It's good to take stock of our lives and determine to rid ourselves of bad habits and to work toward becoming better people, for ourselves and those around us. Some of us will stumble and fall in the process; others will stumble and yet succeed. Change does not come easily.
Our state lawmakers are returning to Columbia to conduct the people's business. Some topics of discussion will be repeated from last year, and the year before that, the year before that and - well, you know how that goes. But we can hope, much as we did a year ago, that lawmakers will be serious about doing the state's work and the people's bidding, that they will dispense with all the self-absorbed posturing, bickering and excuses and simply get to work.
Closer to home, we can also hope that other elected and appointed officials will do the same - busy themselves doing what they were elected and appointed to do and with great transparency. That applies to school boards and school administrators, city and county councils, and those who serve administratively, as well as those who head our law enforcement agencies.
Let's aspire for 2018 to be a year of good government and open government. Because, really, one cannot exist without the other.
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