Congress is scheduled to vote on another funding deal this week, and Dreamers and advocates are back on Capitol Hill to demand that lawmakers oppose any deal that does not include the Dream Act.
Since last September, when Donald Trump ended DACA, members of Congress have forced Dreamers into a wait-and-see game where they have acknowledged the need to pass protections for immigrant youth — yet have not done so. In instances when Republicans have gestured toward legislation, they have put out proposals that would ask immigrant youth to make an unacceptable trade that would harm millions of immigrants in exchange for Dreamer protections.
Dreamers showed up in force on the Hill at the end of December, and then in mid-January, to call on Congress to pass the Dream Act along with the budget deals that were cut at the time. Today, Senate Democrats announced they are ready to vote for government funding, but House Democrats are demanding a commitment on Dreamer legislation.
Some 700 Dreamers and advocates from across the country —including Florida, Oregon, New York, Arizona, Kentucky, Texas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, California, Tennessee, and Idaho — visited House offices today. Around 100 sat down in the middle of the Capitol Rotunda, conducting an act of civil disobedience and refusing to move until they were arrested.
As Nestor Gomez Jimenez, a Dreamer from Minnesota, said in a press release, Congress needs to stop toying with the lives of Dreamers:
Today, I returned to Representative Paulsen’s office to ask him once more to take action that would protect his constituents, like me, from deportation. I grew up in Brooklyn Park all of my life and have always been involved in my community. I’ve even asked the Representative’s office to hold town halls so they could meet with the immigrant young people in his district who are now living in danger.
His constituents are tired of waiting while Congress plays politics with our lives. We need Rep. Paulsen to get behind the Dream Act now if he’s serious about his support for us.
Meanwhile today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been conducting a marathon filibuster — which, as of this writing, has gone on for more than six hours — to call attention to the Dream Act. Wearing heels, sipping only water, and telling the stories of Dreamers from across the country, Leader Pelosi has been preventing House business from going forward and says she wants Speaker Paul Ryan to commit to a vote for Dreamers.
Currently, 122 Dreamers are losing work status and protection from deportations every day. Dreamers with active DACA protection have been picked up, detained, and faced deportation. In March, more than 1,000 Dreamers will start losing status and protection every day without Congressional action.
View some of the tweets, photos, and videos from today’s Dream Actions on the Hill: