Immigration activists take part in a National Day of Action for a Dream Act Now protest on Feb. 7 in Washington. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Regarding E.J. Dionne Jr.’s Feb. 12 op-ed, “The agony of the moderate left”:

So far, at least $70 billion has been spent by communities across the country educating the “dreamers” whom President Trump is threatening to deport. If we’re talking about 700,000 dreamers, people who got here before 2009, it seems safe to estimate they’ve averaged 10 years in the public education system. At $10,000 per year for public school, that’s $70 billion.

How does it make sense to deport individuals in whom communities have invested now that these individuals are starting to work and pay taxes? In an economy that’s near full employment? In a society that’s aging and needs young workers to help support retirees?     

Why do Democrats need to concede anything to keep them here? Deporting dreamers is destructive and self-defeating purely on economic terms. 

Paul B. Evans, Lutherville, Md.

What is to be done with the unwanted ones, the men and women who do not fit — because of their legal status, race, color, creed, national origin or sexual orientation? Those who civilization believes must be pruned from the vine to protect its sense of itself?

Every culture since antiquity survived this way, defining itself by the things it excludes. As long as there is progress, there will always be human debris in its wake, on the outside looking in. Sooner or later one must answer the question of what becomes of them. In the United States the solution is to call them criminals, rapists and illegals, throw them into the darkness of detention and then kick them out.

But what of the ones who call themselves “dreamers”? They arrived as children, got educated, formed families and lived for years unmolested. They adapted to the culture and led simple lives as model contributing citizens and families. They are threatened with arrest, family breakup and parental deportation — leaving their legal-citizen children behind.

I argue that justice demands that we do better than that. A civilization is judged not by whom it excludes but whether it humanely treats the excluded.

James M. "Mike" Davis, Burke