El Paso, TX – In an op-ed for the El Paso Times, Clint-resident Dreamer Melissa Martinez called on Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX) to support the Dream Act. As someone who represents a heavily Latino district, Rep. Hurd has an opportunity to lead on an issue vitally important to the community.
Congressman Hurd’s district includes nearly 5,000 immigrant youth who would benefit from the Dream Act and allow these Dreamers to further contribute to the country they call home.
Find excerpts of Martinez’s piece “Calling on Congressman Hurd to Support Dreamers” below, and in its entirety here.
On September 5, President Trump announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As a DACA recipient, the news of it coming to an end created a sense of fear and uncertainty that many of us had not felt in many years. In Texas, there are more than 120,000 DACA recipients, second only to California, and with DACA permits to start expiring on March 6, 2018, the need for Congress to pass the Dream Act and protect DACA recipient is more urgent than ever.
This is why I’m calling on Representative Will Hurd to do the right thing and sponsor a clean Dream Act.
The Dream Act, sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in the Senate and Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) in the House, would pass both chambers tomorrow if brought to a vote. Rep. Hurd is not a co-sponsor on this important legislation.
My family and I migrated to Texas from Mexico when I was five years old, and the Lone Star State–Congressman Hurd’s district specifically–has been my home for 17 years. For decades, Texas has been known as a welcoming state for undocumented immigrants, as it was the first to allow Dreamers to pay in-state tuition and receive state aid for higher education.
Our proximity to the Mexican border has also meant that our families tend to be of mixed-status, that many of us have family members who are both undocumented and citizens. If anyone can understand how immigrants make Texas a better place to live, it should be Congressman Hurd, whose district includes much of the Texas-Mexico border and includes more than 4,700 DACA-eligible Dreamers.
Just weeks after President Trump ended DACA, Congressman Hurd said, “there are 800,000 young men and women who have only known America, and they should have legal status to stay here. I think this is something we can get done.”
If this is something he thinks can get done, why has he not signed on to the Dream Act? If he’s serious about protecting people like me and my brother, and millions of Dreamers who wish for nothing more than to contribute to the country we call home, he must sign on to the Dream Act now. Our community cannot afford inaction.
If nothing is done in Congress, countless immigrant youth who have been able to advance their lives and careers to become first responders, nurses, and teachers will be at risk of losing their jobs and drivers licenses, and will once again live with the perpetual fear of deportation.