Yesterday, America’s Voice launched the first-ever “Dignity Days,” a virtual discussion to highlight the efforts from immigration leaders who are spearheading local and state immigration victories around the country.
As Republicans have both failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and then blocked President Obama’s 2014 immigration actions shielding millions of immigrant families from deportation, activists have worked to pass meaningful, pro-immigrant legislation in their own communities and states.
In one state, immigration activists were able to stop dead in its tracks the GOP-led repeal of a pro-immigrant law that has been on the books for over a decade.
Leaders from these state efforts joined yesterday’s virtual hangout, including Julieta Garibay of United We Dream, Karla Perez of University of Houston Youth Empowerment Alliance, Darcy Tromanhauser of NE Appleseed, Alison Martinez of CT Students for a DREAM, and Karen Tumlin of the National Immigration Law Center.
Tromanhauser discussed a recent victory for undocumented students in Nebraska, where activists and their allies were able to pass a bill that allows DACA beneficiaries to apply for driver’s licenses.
As immigration activist Juan Escalante noted earlier this week, Nebraska was the final hold-out in granting driver’s licenses to DACA recipients. The bill passed the Republican-led legislature, but was vetoed by Republican Governor Pete Ricketts. However, the legislature had enough votes to override the Governor’s veto, which they successfully did the next day.
“Now,” Escalante writes, “all DACA beneficiaries can count on receiving driver’s licenses across all 50 states.”
Martinez discussed the efforts of students across the state of Connecticut, where they were successful in their bid to obtain in-state tuition rates at state colleges and universities.
Meanwhile, Garibay and Perez discussed their widely-publicized efforts in Texas, where mobilized youth successfully killed a Republican proposal to repeal the Texas Dream Act, which was signed into law by former Gov. Rick Perry in 2001 and allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates.
Additionally, Tumlin answered some viewer questions regarding the state of President Obama’s 2014 immigration actions, which are currently on hold following a bogus lawsuit from the Republican Governors and Attorneys General of 26 states.
A must-watch recording of the virtual conversation is below. A big thanks to United We Dream, University of Houston Youth Empowerment Alliance, NE Appleseed, Students for a DREAM, and the National Immigration Law Center for their hard work, and for joining us yesterday!