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A recording of today’s press call is available here.
Today, United We Dream, National Immigration Law Center, Center for Community Change, and America’s Voice hosted a press call today to discuss the path forward for the Dream Act this year.
As actions across the country this week demonstrated, there is incredible energy for protecting Dreamers all across America, there is growing bipartisan support in Congress, and poll after poll shows that the American people, including Republicans, strongly back efforts to keep Dreamers here in America.
Cristina Jimenez, Executive Director and Co-Founder of United We Dream, said:
Our message to Congress is simple: pass a clean Dream Act, you have two weeks. When politicians, like Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell, say there is no urgency to act on Dream Act, they are lying. Delay means deportation. The DACA-status of a United We Dream leader and teacher expired over the weekend. Now, he cannot legally teach his students, and he is vulnerable to deportation. It is up to Congress to decide: do you want to deport this teacher and community leader? Will you deport immigrant youth, or will you protect them? It is a moment of moral reckoning they cannot ignore or rebuke. Congress has two weeks to protect immigrant youth. If not, the pain of immigrant youth will be on their hands.
Kamal Essaheb, Director of Policy & Advocacy, National Immigration Law Center – Immigrant Justice Fund, said:
After yesterday, it’s now clear. Congress has two weeks to pass the Dream Act. It’s time for both parties to work together to hammer out a solution to end the uncertainty currently plaguing hundreds of thousands of Dreamers. Otherwise, this will be the last Christmas for many families. Thousands of young people have already lost DACA, and their lives upended. What does that mean? It means they lose their ability to live without fear of deportation, fear of losing jobs, livelihood, and healthcare. Losing their ability to afford college. Fear of losing the ability to drive, to take their loved ones to school or the hospital. This has impacted over 10,000 to date, 100 per day. Thousands cannot wait for DACA to be renewed. Brittany Aguilera, a New York caregiver to two fourteen-month-old twins, who no longer has DACA protection as of today. Those children need her. Our country needs her. We need a clean Dream Act now.
Alma Couverthié, Deputy Director for Immigration, Center for Community Change – FIRM, said:
Millions of people’s lives are on the line and more than 120 DACAmented youth lose their status daily. Congress needs to do its job and pass the Dream Act before leaving for recess. We deserve the opportunity to live our lives with dignity and without fear of being deported. We are encouraged that nearly three dozen Republicans have publicly said they support the Dream Act but we need more courageous members of Congress to stand up now! Immigrant communities have been confronting a series of attacks and setbacks, particularly the termination of DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Sudanese people. Tens of thousands of other TPS holders face uncertainty as the renewal deadlines loom. Congress can pass the Dream Act for immigrant youth and a solution for the 300,000 TPS holders who have long made United States their home.
Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice, said:
When Republicans say ‘address the Dreamer issue later and on its own,’ we hear them loud and clear. It really means: ‘we won’t do it, but we’ll go through the motions and then blame Democrats.’ In fact, the precise translation for ‘standalone and regular order’ is ‘deport Dreamers.’ We challenge Majority Leader McConnell, Speaker Ryan, and the other Republicans who say they want to help Dreamers through “regular order” and in “a standalone bill” to make a credible case of how they plan to do it. How would Speaker Ryan get a majority of his majority AND Democrats? He wouldn’t. How would Majority Leader McConnell please Senators Cruz and Cotton as well as get Democrats on board? He wouldn’t. They can’t and they know it. That’s why legislation protecting Dreamers needs to be a 2017 priority, before Congress leaves town for the holidays.