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Our country is on the brink of implementing what could go down in history as one of our most shameful inhumane acts. This act can be solely blamed on a despot leader and the Republican Party that continues to support his racist policies. These racist policies beg the question of whether we treat and have laws that protect our pets better in America than people who have lived here most of their lives.

Iowa Code Title XVI I.C.A. § 717B.8 states; “a person who has ownership or custody of a cat or dog shall not abandon the cat or dog.” Iowa and American laws consider it a crime when this occurs.

In September President Trump ordered to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which will ultimately abandon 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, resulting in their deportation. In March some of these young adults brought to the United States illegally as children will be abandoned by our country just like an unwanted pet. There are almost 3,000 DACA individuals who live in Iowa. The five-year-old DACA policy has allowed them to remain without fear of immediate removal from the country and gives them the right to work legally.

These 800,000 young adult DACA individuals presently residing in the United States had no choice in coming here because they arrived as children. How can they be held responsible for something their parents did?

It has been said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” These DACA individuals were nourished, raised, trained and educated in our local communities and individual states. As a retired teacher for the Waterloo Community Schools, I most likely taught some of these children. We have all seen them grow to maturity, and we have lived with them as our neighbors who now contribute positively to our great nation. Some DACA individuals even have children of their own. Some of them have served gallantly in our military.

It is no surprise Trump decided to shamefully abandon these DACA individuals. His racist attitudes toward immigrants have been apparent from the beginning. Early in his career he underpaid immigrants. He has referred to Mexicans as people who “bring drugs “and are “rapists,” and has said Nigerian immigrants should “go back to their huts.” Trump called a judge of Mexican descent, who was ruling on a case against him, as a “so-called judge,” and most recently referred to African nations as “s***thole countries.”

Trump and Republicans in Congress have decreed certain individuals do not have quite the right pedigree and should be abandoned. DACA individuals will be taken thousands of miles away from their present home and family in America and dumped and abandoned across our borders. They will be taken to a country that is foreign to them and in some cases they may not even speak the native language. There will be no job for them and little chances of obtaining a job. They will have no shelter or means for basic survival. They will be refugees exiled by the very country they thought was their own. DACA individuals will be exiled by our irresponsible and shameful leaders in Washington D.C.

Presently the Republicans in the U.S. Congress are shamefully holding the fate of these DACA individuals hostage in order to barter politically for their own party policies. Some congressional Republicans actually believe like Trump that we should abandon these American native-raised DACA individuals and toss them aside outside our borders.

The laws of America and Iowa deservedly protect our pets from being inhumanely abandoned or being put in helpless situations. Republican politicians starting from the top down seem to think 800,000 native-raised Americans do not deserve the same benefit. If it is a crime to abandon our cats and dogs, then it is possible we may treat and protect our pets better than our own people who have lived here most of their lives. I will be embarrassed to call myself an American if this occurs. Aren’t we better people than this?

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Steve Wikert is a Cedar Falls resident, Vietnam veteran and retired teacher.

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