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In August 2001, Sen. Orrin Hatch rolled out a bill, The Dream Act, to allow children of undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States and create a path to permanent residency for those who stay out of trouble and earn a high school diploma.

That same month, a 6-year-old boy named Patricio arrived in Utah from Argentina.

Patricio's father worked in the airline industry, but with the Argentine government and economy in turmoil and the promise of a job, they sold what they had to buy tickets to Utah and the hope of a new life in the United States.

Within weeks of their arrival, four airliners were hijacked and crashed in the most lethal terrorist attack in U.S. history, and the prospect of a foreigner landing work in the airline industry disappeared.

With nothing to return home to, Patricio's family members, who are Mormon, stayed and worked and built a new life. Eventually, their visas lapsed and they joined the ranks of undocumented immigrants.

Patricio grew up, learned English, got good grades and graduated from high school. But unable to work legally, paying for a college education seemed out of reach.

"I'd done everything right," Patricio told me this week. "I had no idea how I was going to pay for it, because I couldn't legally work. College is already expensive."

That changed in 2012, when then-President Barack Obama took an executive action to create Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy that closely mirrored Hatch's Dream Act allowing young people like Patricio, who came to this country without any say in the matter, to work and attend college without fear of deportation.

"It completely changed Dreamers' lives," Patricio said. "I was stuck, and I felt like I had a lot to contribute and continuing my education and developing myself professionally and academically — but we were blocked from doing that until President Obama signed the executive order that allowed me to have a job and that just changed everything."

Today, Patricio, 23, works at a wealth management firm. He will get his political science degree this summer, and is preparing to apply to law school. He hopes to get his law degree, become a full citizen and perhaps run for office.

More than 10,000 young people in Utah with dreams like Patricio's and 800,000 nationwide signed up, were heavily vetted and approved for the DACA program.

Their future is now in doubt.

In February, President Donald Trump issued a series of executive orders to crack down on undocumented immigrants, causing a wave of panic in immigrant communities amid reports of raids and roundups across the country.

He left the DACA program in place, at least for now, saying it "will be addressed in future guidance."

"There's definitely uncertainty," said Patricio, who asked that I only use his first name because of concerns for his family with the stepped-up enforcement and deportations. "We have no idea if [Trump] is going to wake up tomorrow and repeal DACA and I go into work and they say I can't work for them."

A bipartisan group of members of Congress have introduced legislation known as The Bridge Act which would make DACA law, provide a provisional protected status for three years and afford some level of security for the thousands affected.

It has the backing of several pro-immigrant groups, as well as leaders in the technology community, including the likes of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. They have helped launch, to urge representatives and senators to pass The Bridge Act as well as comprehensive immigration reform — although Congress almost certainly lacks the courage or functionality to tackle that one in my lifetime.

The argument is that these young people are, in many cases, the kind of innovators and achievers that let the technology industry thrive in the United States. will be opening a Utah chapter this month, and Hatch is sponsoring one of the group's top priorities — a bill to simplify the work visa process for technology jobs.

Unfortunately, so far just one Utah member of Congress has mustered the courage to sign on as a co-sponsor of The Bridge Act — Rep. Chris Stewart joined on Tuesday — and they have opposed The Dream Act in the past.

None of the remaining five members responded Tuesday to a request for comment regarding The Bridge Act.

It's most galling that Hatch — the original patron of Utah's Dreamers — is AWOL on the issue.

One of my early assignments as a new reporter working in Washington, D.C., was to cover the news conference in which Hatch, flanked by Dreamers and university officials from Utah, promoted The Dream Act.

"Though these children have built their lives here, they have no possibility of achieving and living the American dream," Hatch said on the Senate floor in 2002. "What a tremendous loss to our society."

What changed?

Well, that "tremendous loss to our society" proved less important to Hatch than the potential loss of his Senate seat. Faced with a right-wing backlash over a program that got branded as "amnesty," Hatch abandoned his principles in favor of his own political survival.

It's not too late for Hatch and the rest of Utah's delegation to choose principles over pandering. For tens of thousands of young people like Patricio, it has the potential to change their world. And ours. Twitter: @RobertGehrke