The March 5 deadline President Donald Trump set for DACA has come and passed, and the program has been put on the back burner. Without a new deadline in place, DACA faces an uncertain future due to the lack of pressure on current legislators.

Congress works best under pressure, best illustrated by their history of last-minute legislation approval — often on the eve of a deadline. With court rulings which have blocked President Trump from ending the program, all Congress members motivation to find a solution for DACA has vanished.

But, even when DACA was the hot topic — accompanied by a push for action — nothing tangible was ever accomplished. Without a time crunch, DACA supporters wonder whether anything will ever happen on Capitol Hill to save the program.

Thankfully, different political organizations have taken responsibility to ensure a sense of urgency surrounding DACA. For example, iAmerica Action, an immigration reform advocacy group, has launched new ad campaigns across the nation. In Wisconsin alone, they have put out ads in 27 districts targeting Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. The ads have slogans like “It’s not fair for dreamers to lose the only home they’ve ever known,” and “The party of family values should not separate families.” In essence, these ads are designed to encourage voter action, manifesting in calls to their congress members as well as Ryan’s office in order to preserve DACA.

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This six-figure campaign is money well-spent — fighting for the lives of 700,000 Dreamers is a noble cause. By creating such an ad campaign, organizations like iAmerica Action are creating a valuable platform of civil discourse and civilian engagement.  

A functioning democracy is meant to encourage its citizens to engage politically and advocate for legislation important to them. This forces representatives to listen to those who have brought them to power. The U.S. government runs on checks and balances, but lately, these “safety features” have been suppressed as corporate interests have taken over those on Capitol Hill. 

It is possible the fear of losing the next election is the only form of motivation that will penetrate the overwhelmed minds of Congress. If representatives felt consistent pressure and passion from their constituents to take action and pass supported legislation, it may actually happen.

Celebrities, political figures and even campaign funders have supported the continuation of DACA.  

Just look at the Koch brothers, who alone have donated millions to the Republican party. In the upcoming midterm election they have a $400 million budget to help keep the GOP in power. These two men have the Republican party under lock and key, but they have also supported DACA. Additionally, speakers from companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Twitter have shown their support for Dreamers. If big names and deep pockets are not influencing the speed and efficiency of saving DACA, then it is up to the voters to speak out.

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Voters have the right to speak out against actions their representatives are or are not doing. By voicing their opinions, Wisconsinites can push politicians like Ryan to take action. If enough of the voting populous engages in political discourse, then the checks and balances of the U.S. government will be restored. The current government tends to ignore the voices of those who disagree with their actions, defending them to oblivion. Even further, this pattern is reinforced if such voices are few and controllable. If the voices become too loud, and there are enough passionate citizens to clearly show that power resides with the people, Capitol Hill and the president will have to listen. The fear of losing in the upcoming 2018 midterm election has the GOP on its toes. This call for action needs to come from voters — and it can start here in Wisconsin.

Emiliana Almanza Lopez ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in sociology and environmental science.