This week, Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) hosted a Dreamer Dinner in the Richmond area to hear directly from three Dreamers about the looming DACA termination deadline in March, which is already adversely impacting the lives of 800,000 program recipients.
“Dreamer Dinners” are a nationwide campaign to protect Dreamers from deportation. Advocates and elected officials sit together with undocumented youth to “break bread” and learn about their personal stories firsthand. Anyone is free to participate. By hosting a Dreamer Dinner, you can show your community that immigrant youth are just like other young Americans and they deserve the opportunity to pursue their dreams and give back to this country. More information can be found here.
To learn more about their experiences and the risks they face without swift action from Congress, Dream Act co-sponsor Rep. McEachin heard directly from three Dreamers, two from Bolivia and one from Sweden.
Milenia Rojas is a DACA-mented high school senior from Bolivia who plans to study engineering with a full scholarship at the University of Rochester.
“The University of Rochester is in a border town between Canada and New York,” Rojas told the Congressman Tuesday. “And just right outside of it there’s a bunch of Border Patrol and ICE agents. So I’m scared that once my DACA expires I might get deported.”
Said Rep. McEachin:
I am so proud of the group of DACA recipients for bravely and publicly sharing their stories with us. These young people were brought to America by their parents from many countries in hopes of having a better life. America is the only country many DREAMers have ever really known and called home. It would be tragic and irresponsible to deport them to countries that are truly foreign to them. I remain committed to working towards a solution that rightfully grants them a pathway to citizenship.
Juan Escalante, a DACA-mented Dreamer and Communications Manager for America’s Voice, said:
I’m encouraged by the leadership and dedication that Members of Congress, like Congressman McEachin, continue to exhibit to ensure that aspiring Americans can continue to contribute to our country, live free from the fear of deportation, and pursue the American Dream.
DACA status update
The Dreamer Dinner with Rep. McEachin comes after last week’s Senate Republicans failure to pass legislation for Dreamers, despite taking two votes that would have protected Dreamers from deportation.
The Senate Republicans’ failure means that hundreds of Dreamers continue to lose DACA status each day. After March, it is estimated that thousands of Dreamers will begin losing status each day.
Two federal judges have ordered the Trump Administration to keep DACA in place, but this is not a permanent solution to the crisis that started last September, when Trump ended DACA. USCIS is, however, for now accepting DACA renewal applications and new applications from Dreamers who have had DACA before.
To learn more about USCIS and DACA renewal applications, refer to:
- National Immigration Law Center’s “Five Things to Know About the Latest USCIS Announcement” here.
- United We Dream frequently asked questions (FAQ) on DACA Renewal Applications, plus a printable version here.