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Dreamers and Advocates Remind Congress of Urgent Need for a Clean Dream Act

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A recording of today’s event is available here.

Ahead of today’s anticipated White House and congressional leaders meeting, Dreamers, immigration advocates, activists, and legal experts underscored the urgent need for Dream legislation before the end of the year. This morning, Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced they would not be attending the meeting and would instead focus on meeting with Republicans to obtain a solution.  A recording of today’s event is available here.

Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center, said:

Today’s meeting between the White House and congressional leadership marks a pivotal moment, and we are urging Republican and Democratic leadership alike to put politics aside and make a commitment to pass a clean Dream Act before the end of the year. This is a day where courage is necessary, for an issue that expands across political lines and provides an opportunity for our elected officials to prove they can actually govern. 

Juan Carlos, United We Dream Honeybadger; DACA-recipient whose status expires in 18 days; and Oregon student, said:

I don’t have the luxury of the arbitrary March 5th deadline. My expiration date is in 18 days. I’m living with the anxiety of facing deportation in 18 days. I have no time to wait for a solution. I ask Congressional leaders to think of me, and the over 10,000 immigrant young people who have already lost their DACA.  A vote on must-pass bills without the Dream Act will be a vote to deport us. We need a Dream Act, and we need it now. 

Jonathan Jayes-Green, Co-founder, UndocuBlack Network, said:

Let me be clear. My people are in a state of emergency. Every day we wake up without passing a clean Dream Act and a permanent solution for TPS holders, is another day our mental emotional and physical well-being suffers. It’s another day we have to wonder about our safety and ability to live our lives freely in this country. For that reason, I am urging the White House and congressional leaders to pass a Dream Act by the year and do what’s right for this country. 

Cristina Jimenez, Executive Director, United We Dream, said:

United We Dream and our members want to make one thing clear to Republicans and Democrats, a vote on any must-pass bill that does not include the Dream Act is a vote to deport thousands of immigrant young people. A clean Dream Act must be attached to the continuing resolution. Immigrant young people and our allies will escalate the pressure on both Republicans and Democrats so that they make their commitment to include the Dream Act in must pass bills public, either they stand with us or they stand for mass deportations. 

Ezra Levin, Co-Executive Director, Indivisible, said:

In September, congressional Democrats cut a deal with Trump on a three-month spending bill that left out Dreamers. The message from Democrats was that the deal would give them leverage in December to get the Dream Act passed. This is their strategy. Now it’s time for them to deliver on that strategy. A number of Senate and House Democrats have already publicly committed to voting against a spending bill unless it contains the Dream Act, and the rest of the caucus should take their lead. Protecting Dreamers should be non-negotiable. 

Kica Matos, Director, Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice, Center for Community Change, said:

This is the time of year when most of us start winding down and spending time with our loved ones. Unfortunately, this is not a normal year, especially for immigrants. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, as families all over the country went home, FIRM groups and immigrant families were out in full force holding actions to garner support for a clean Dream Act. We visited House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and other Members of Congress across ten states. We will continue this week, next week, and the week after. We won’t give up until we have clean Dream Act legislation. Next week, thousands plan to travel to DC to demand clean Dream legislation. Congress needs to get it together, stop playing politics and look at the lives of the people in their district that they will destroy if they do nothing on Dream Act legislation. They need to act with courage. We will remember those who were with us and also those we turned their backs. There is a special place in hell for those who turned their backs on the young people of our nation. 

Christian Ramirez, Director, Southern Border Communities Coalition, said:

Congress has an opportunity to put an end to the crisis created by President Trump, when he arbitrarily ended DACA on September 5th.  As  a result, 22,000 DACA beneficiaries will lose their work permits and protections before March 5th. That’s 122 per day, more than 10,000 DACA recipients have already lost their status. We remind policymakers that one out of five (20%) of Dreamers live in the Southern Border Region, and nearly half of them line the four southern border states. For us, in the southern border, increased funding for Customs and Border Protection and heightened militarization in the region translates into more abusive and unaccountable Border Patrol agents and an expanded deportation force in our communities. We need a clean Dream Act that does not trade the safety of Border Dreamers for those of their family, friends and neighbors.

Rocio Sáenz, Executive Vice President, Service Employees International Union, said:

The time to take action on both the Dream Act and TPS is now.  More Dreamers are in danger of deportation every day, and TPS holders have a right to be able to plan their lives. SEIU members nationwide are standing up and rising up on multiple fronts, including against the Republican tax plan and to save healthcare. These fights underscore the need for a political turnaround in 2018 and the importance of strong unions so that all working people have the right to make their voices heard. We are standing up and saying no to Trump’s promised reign of terror and yes to community, love for one another and human dignity.