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Members of Congress began their Thanksgiving recess this weekend, and Dreamers and advocates across the country took the opportunity to pressure their representatives to support the Dream Act and stand up to mass deportations.
In Denver, Colorado Dreamers volunteered with Denver Feed a Family, while advocates with the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition set up an empty Thanksgiving table to underscore how deportations are separating families. In Ohio, advocates braved the wind and rain to show their support for legislation. In Connecticut, allies rallied for Miriam, a Connecticut mom who has lived in the US for 25 years and faces deportation today. In California, Dreamers canvassed for the Dream Act in Rep. Mimi Walters’ (R-CA) district. In Nevada and New York, advocates met with Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), respectively, while Maryland students lobbied Sen. Chris van Hollen (D-MD).
In New Jersey this week, Dreamers will launch a hunger strike and visit the Congressional offices of five Republican House members who have not signed onto a clean Dream Act — Reps. Smith, Lance, Frelinghuysen, LoBiondo, and MacArthur.
And in New York, Dreamers and advocates with Make the Road New York and other organizations demanded support from Republican Reps. Pete King and Dan Donovan. Dozens of Dreamers and family members rallied outside Rep. King’s house, while 200 marched in Staten Island to call for Rep. Donovan’s support.
When Rep. Donovan held a town hall over the weekend, Dreamers and advocates presented him with 2,000 petitions for the Dream Act, and high school sophomore Gisele Mendez — a Make the Road member whose sister has DACA — took him to task on when he would act. Jezebel covered the exchange:
Gisele Mendez: And if we do get enough voters, will you vote yes [on the Dream Act]?
Donovan: I support the president in securing our borders.
[Audience member: Ask him again!]
Mendez: I’m sorry sir, you need to be a little more specific.
Donovan: I’m in favor of fixing DACA, and I’m also in favor of securing our borders.
Mendez: So that’s a no.
Audience member: Do you support a clean Dream Act?
Mendez: Like I said before, when we do get enough voters and supporters, you’re going to be one of those that say no.
Donovan: I’m going to be someone who supports DACA and border security.
Mendez: It’s a yes or no question sir.
View that moment, and other powerful examples of grassroots action from this week, below: