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Representatives Kennedy, Murphy, and Swalwell Meet with Immigrant Youth As Part of “Dreamer Dinners” Campaign and Future Forum Listening Tour

 

Boston, MA – Today, Representatives Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) joined immigrant youth to discuss how the repeal of DACA will affect immigrant youth and their families and to commit to pushing policies locally and nationally to protect the 800,000 Dreamers from deportation. This event was held in conjunction with Future Forum, a group of 27 young House Democrats, chaired by Rep. Swalwell, who are traveling the nation to engage with millennials on the issues they care most about.

Representative Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), said:

For the Dreamers seated at the table with us today, pursuing our shared American dream has required immense struggle and sacrifice that few understand. Bravely embracing the only home they have ever known, these students and young professionals represent the very best our country has to offer and are deeply committed to their communities and our Commonwealth. Guided by their stories, my colleagues and I will fight even harder to protect them and their 800,000 fellow Dreamers from President Trump’s dangerous policies.

Representative Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), said:

The Dreamers I spoke with today are remarkable young men and women.  They are patriotic Americans, they have studied and worked hard, and they have made vital contributions to our nation.  They have done nothing wrong and, indeed, they have done everything right.  In the wake of the President’s decision to end DACA administratively, Democrats and Republicans in Congress must step up and enact bipartisan legislation to ensure that Dreamers can remain here, in the country they call home.

Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA), said:

Today, with Future Forum colleagues Reps. Joe Kennedy III and Stephanie Murphy, I met with Boston-Area Dreamers. I was particularly struck by one student who told us, ‘we are not statistics, or an economic benefit; we are humans.’ He’s right. This is a human rights issue and they and their families deserve leadership in Congress to pass the DREAM Act. I’ll never forget another student, who was born in Guatemala but has lived in the United States for the past 20 years. He told us it was a slap in the face when he graduated from high school and learned how narrow his pathway to citizenship would be. As he shared his story, he was wearing an American Eagle shirt with a US flag. He’s just as American as me and deserves a chance to legally be so, too.

Daishi, a Harvard student and one of the seven DACA recipients who attended today’s lunch, said:

I’m an Japanese-Filipino undocumented student at Harvard University and many would see me as the “good immigrant”. But every day I wake up and remember my hardworking parents who were painted as “bad immigrants” and pushed to self-deport themselves last year. No matter how hard you work, live, or educate yourself, Americans will dehumanize you and legitimize the broken immigration system. I’m glad through America’s Voice, I can communicate to members of Congress that a CLEAN Dream Act or DACA fix is an urgent matter to fight for as fellow humans.

Eva Millona, Executive Director of Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), said:

We are very grateful to America’s Voice for putting together this lunch, and to all the Members of Congress for making the time to talk with Dreamers and listen to their perspectives. The Trump administration has tried to take Dreamers hostage by ending DACA and then demanding draconian new immigration policies as the price of saving them from deportation. We urge all Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, to do the right thing and pass a clean DREAM Act.

The DACA program is an unqualified success, providing new opportunities and futures for nearly 800,000 Dreamers who live, study, and work in America, including 23,000 who are DACA-eligible in Massachusetts, 102,000 who are DACA-eligible in Florida, and 561,000 who are DACA-eligible in California. Each DACA recipient has come forward, passed a background check and been granted permission to live and work legally in America. As a result, many have been able to fulfill their dreams of attending and completing college; most are working legally, paying taxes and providing for their families; and all are finding ways to contribute to the country they call home without fear of deportation.

The “Dreamer Dinners” initiative invites Senators, Congressman, and local elected officials to join an immigrant family for a meal to discuss how federal immigration actions impact children, families, and communities.

Photos courtesy of MIRA Coalition: