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While Congress Bickers and Trump Tweets Past the DACA Deadline, the American People are Standing Up to Fight for Dreamers

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In the wake of yesterday’s DACA deadline, there are two evident truths: Dreamers face an urgent crisis – at the hands of Trump and his GOP – and, across party and state lines, Americans overwhelmingly support a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers.

In a new piece, Time Magazine’s Charlotte Alter profiles Corina Barranco, an Ohio DACA-recipient. Like any high school senior, Barranco is struggling to balance school, college applications, work, and family obligations. But now, like the other 800,000 DACA-recipients, she has an added stresser: “she has to apply for her DACA renewal soon and that she’s not sure if she will get it, and what will happen if she doesn’t. “It feels like boom boom in my chest. I get panicky,” she says over lunch. “If they take away DACA, I won’t be able to work at McDonald’s. Immigration has my records. What if they come to get me?””

Barranco dreams of attending Lorain Community College and becoming a local police officer, but between Congress’ inaction on DACA, scholarship snafus, and legal hoops, the road ahead is unclear:

But the morning after that conversation, [Lorain Community College] administrators called Barranco again, asking for proof of her DACA status. A few days later, they asked for more forms, and asked her to fill out the application through FAFSA. Barranco is scared of using FAFSA, even though it will allow her to get financial aid. “I don’t want to risk myself,” she says. “Maybe the government will think I’m taking their money.”

The March 5 deadline for addressing DACA came and went without a legislative solution. Barranco is no closer to certainty. She was supposed to apply to renew her DACA status in mid-February, but the case worker who was helping her with her application had gotten sick. “I got worried, because we’re wasting time!” she says. “What if I’m too late to reapply again?”

And so life goes on. Her appointment was rescheduled. Congress keeps bickering. Barranco plods forward, one tentative step after another, toward what she hopes will be her American future.

Meanwhile, the inaction on Capitol Hill is being met with action nationwide – rallies, marches, sit-ins, and protests in support of Dreamers. America’s Voice Digital Director Van Le published a must-see blog on the activities surrounding yesterday’s deadline:

Thousands of Dreamers and advocates are speaking out in over seventy events around Washington, D.C. and around the nation, making it clear that Congressional inaction is intolerable and that the Dream Act needs to be passed now. As a press release from United We Dream stated:

Teenagers like Daniela who grew up in Texas who immigrated to the United States for life-saving heart surgery and was ready to apply for DACA on September 5th. Arely is a North Carolina teen from El Salvador who like nearly 50,000 other immigrant youth, are losing protections they’ve had under the Temporary Protected Status program which Trump ended. Miguel should be protected by DACA yet was profiled and locked in a detention camp and Dennis, who today is locked in a detention camp for standing up to a bully at school. All of these young people could be citizens with the Dream Act but instead they are targets.

Events planned for [yesterday] and the week surrounding March 5 include:

  • An act of civil disobedience in the streets of Washington, D.C. where hundreds of advocates will be arrested after sitting down in traffic
  • Takeovers of the offices of members of Congress
  • From PICO National Network: actions outside key Congressional offices in 10 states, including civil disobedience in 5 states
  • A National Catholic Day of Action last week in which 40 Catholic nuns, priests and lay leaders were arrested for practicing nonviolent civil disobedience in the Russell Senate Building Rotunda
  • Action and leadership from #MuslimsforDream calling for the legislative Dream Act
  • Immigrants protesting beefed-up ICE enforcement in six Central Valley-Central Coast communities in California
  • High school walk-outs where immigrant youth are calling for Dream action

According to Juan Escalante, DACA-Recipient and Communications Manager of America’s Voice:

While Congress bickers and Trump tweets, the American people are standing up to fight for Dreamers. A permanent, legislative solution for Dreamers should be a no-brainer. It’s time for Trump and the GOP to stop holding us hostage in pursuit of their white supremacist agenda and pass the Dream Act. While the courts have thankfully provided a temporary reprieve for Dreamers, it’s just that – a temporary limbo. Corina, and the many Dreamers just like us, deserve to graduate high school and pursue their dreams in the country they call home.