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Elections Have Consequences

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Bipartisan Momentum Grows as House Republicans, Robert Gates, Military Dreamers, Students Across the US, Police Chiefs, Chuck Schumer, and Jennifer Rubin All Speak Up for Dreamers

After Tuesday night’s elections, the drive to pass the Dream Act before the end of the year is gathering stronger-than-ever bipartisan momentum. Let’s connect the dots.

  • 11 House Republicans from across America hold pro-Dreamer press conference: At a Capitol Hill press conference this morning, 11 House Republicans from districts all across America stood up for Dreamers, made the case for congressional passage of legislation resolving their status, and made clear that “This should not be a political football,” as Representative Lance (R-NJ) summarized. Representative Newhouse (R-WA) underscored the urgency of the crisis, “Every day that Congress kicks the can down the road, real people are hurt. We need to act on DACA.” View the entire press conference here.
  • Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and military Dreamers call for action:In a New York Times op-ed today, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates writes: “All of those undocumented immigrants, through their willingness to shed blood to protect the rest of us, have earned the right to call themselves ‘American citizen.’” This morning, Harminder Saini, a U.S. Army soldier and Dreamer, will join Senators Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Duckworth (D-IL), and Durbin (D-IL); Representatives Carbajal (D-CA), Hoyer, (D-MD) Lieu (D-CA), and Gallego (D-AZ); Truman Project; and VoteVets for apress conference to highlight the essential contributions of Dreamers to our national security and to urge Congress to pass the Dream Act.
  • Operation Dream Act: Young immigrants and allies mobilizing across America today:  Today, two months after Trump killed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, United We Dream organized nine schools in the D.C. and Maryland area to lead nationwide school walkouts and rallies to demand Congress pass a clean Dream Act this year. After the walkouts, hundreds of area students met over 350 young people who traveled from Oregon, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Georgia, Massachusetts, California, New York, Kansas, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Oklahoma, and they marched to Congress together. Today’s DC event is part of the nationwide campaign for the Dream Act.
  • Dreamer Dinners continue to unite elected officials and Dreamers: Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Schumer (D-NY) joined Dreamers from United We Dream, Make the Road, and America’s Voice to discuss passing the Dream Act before the end of the year. According to Sen. Schumer: “Dreamers represent the best of America and the values that make our nation great. Today I had the opportunity to participate in a Dreamer dinner and meet with immigrant youth from New York, hear their stories, their concerns, and reiterate my support for the Dream Act. I assured them that this is a top priority for me and told them I’m optimistic we will get this done. I’m amazed by Dreamers’ resilience, perseverance and strength in the face of uncertainty and adversity. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Dream Act is a top priority for me, and I am committed to getting the Dream Act done by the end of this year.”
  • Police chiefs in Iowa and Texas calling for action on Dream: In a new op-ed forHouston Chronicle, Police Chief Art Acevedo highlights the critical role Dreamers play in Texas communities, including in rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Harvey and in protecting Texans: “As we rebuild after so much loss, we can’t afford to have Dreamers pushed into the shadows in fear that they will be deported…Immigrants are also essential for keeping Houston safe. Having served in law enforcement for more than 30 years, I believe trust between police and residents is key to everyone’s safety.” Andin Iowa, Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman continues the drumbeat and recounts the varied ways Dreamers and immigrants promote public safety: “The importance of trust is one reason I and other police chiefs nationwide are asking Congress to pass broad immigration reform, and right now to focus on a legislative solution to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.”
  • Today, conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin chimes in on how Dream legislation may save the Republican party: “It seems that Americans have had enough of race-baiting, xenophobia and plain old meanness. Certainly Republicans in swing districts, or districts that could come into play in a wave election, know that. If they refuse to include the DACA fix in December and fail again before President Trump’s March deadline, imagine the headlines, the ads and the rallies…Republicans will get painted not only by Democrats but also by fellow Republicans as heartless racists who also are weak on national security. That should terrify even Republicans who won comfortably in 2016.”

A new Center for American Progress column, “Thousands of DACA Recipients Are Already Losing Their Protection From Deportation” underscores the urgency. The report finds that 122 Dreamers a day who are losing DACA protection between October 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018. As CAP notes, “the reality is that with every passing day, DACA recipients lose their protections and become vulnerable to a regime of enforcement overdrive.”

Said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

Elections have consequences. And the Tuesday elections have shifted the ground under Republican members of Congress in swing districts and states. While the fear of inaction is real, imagine the headlines if Congress actually got its act together and worked on a bipartisan basis to fix Dreamers’ status going forward? It would shock the country – in a good way. Passing the Dream Act is a win-win for everyone involved. All we need now is Republican leadership to let it happen.