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Ahead of the meeting with White House officials and Senators and Members of Congress today, progressive movement leaders gathered on a press call to urge Congress to pass the Dream Act as soon as possible. A recording of today’s event is available here.
According to Adrian Reyna, Dream Act Campaign Manager for United We Dream and a potential Dream Act beneficiary:
Today, Trump is meeting with members of congress from both parties to talk about whether people like me and my sisters, who grew up in this country, can continue to work and live our lives or whether we will be forced out at gunpoint. To Trump and to the Republicans and to the Democrats, know that you are not only making decisions that affect our lives, you are also making decisions about the soul of this nation. We need the Dream Act passed by January 19. That is next Friday. The urgency is real, the timeline is short and the eyes of the world are watching.
Mary Kay Henry, President, Service Employees International Union said:
We stand in solidarity with the millions of freedom fighters from across the country who have had it with congressional leaders who aren’t governing for soul of nation. They had a year to fund the government, pass the Dream Act, and help disaster-stricken communities. Instead, they spent time trying to rip health insurance from children and grandparents and passing tax giveaways to millionaires. And now, time is running out for Dreamers and the hundreds of thousands of TPS recipients. For me, this fight is personal; Dreamers and TPS holders are our co-workers, neighbors, friends, family, who are integrated into our communities. We are demanding a clean Dream Act by January 19th.
According to Lily Eskelsen García, President, National Education Association:
On behalf of the three million educators in NEA and 50 million students, we call on Congress to pass a clean Dream Act now. President Trump’s heartless decision to end DACA jeopardized the lives of 800,000 DACA recipients. Twenty thousand of whom have used their status to go to college and become educators. They give the gift of their talents in schools right now. We welcome Dreamers and their talents and contributions, because brighter futures for them means brighter futures for us.
According to Vanita Gupta, President & CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:
We know that there is enough bipartisan support for a Dream Act, in both the House and Senate. We need leaders in both chambers to stand on the right side of history and stand with Dreamers. On behalf of our civil and human rights coalition, we will continue to demand that Congress pass a Dream Act now.
Deirdre Schifeling, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund said:
At Planned Parenthood, we believe no one’s health should be compromised because of their immigration status. Immigrants, immigrant youth, and DACA recipients are part of the Planned Parenthood family. Access to reproductive healthcare allows women to control their destinies and lives. Planned Parenthood calls on congress to pass the Dream Act now in the must pass spending bill on January 19th. We are proud to stand with our partners against hate and discrimination.
According to Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President for External Affairs, Center for American Progress:
Today, another 122 people will lose their protections under DACA. Each day these men, children, women, and family live with the stress and anxiety of not knowing if they will remain in the country they call home. Since December, Republican Members of Congress have done nothing to fix the chaos caused by the Trump Administration. If there was ever a question about the right time to take a stand, this is that time. Congress must not pass another spending bill that doesn’t protect Dreamers.
Kica Matos, Director, Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice, Center for Community Change said:
Here is our message to Congress: DO. YOUR. JOBS. Get it together. Follow the wishes of the American people. Treat these young people as if they were yours and remember their humanity. Bear in mind the struggle and sacrifice they have made to build their lives in this country. And never forget how they have enriched our lives and our communities. And my final message to Congress on behalf of FIRM and CCC Action is this: keep Virginia and Alabama on your minds, because we are organizing. We are watching. We are organizing. We will make sure that we continue to knock on doors and educate and mobilize our communities so that when our people go to the polls, they will know who was with us and who was against us.
According to Angelica Salas, Executive Director, CHIRLA:
CHIRLA has been organizing community youth for decades across California. As we provide legal services directly for immigrant youth, we were there on the first day of DACA when thousands applied and lives change. Young people were able to pursue their dreams, finish their education, and continue to contribute to their communities. On September 5, when Trump ended DACA, we were also there. We saw the tears in Dreamers’ eyes and the sudden uncertainty about what their futures would hold. We saw, in one swoop, futures terminated. DACA ended that day, do not be mistaken. Now, Dreamers cannot wait. Young people are losing their status each and every day. We believe deeply that Congress should learn a little bit from the courage of our young immigrant youth. The time is up – we need the Dream Act now.
According to Ben Wikler, Washington Director, MoveOn:
The Dream Act and TPS represent a critical test for Republicans and Democrats alike. If they rise to this moment and stand with the overwhelming majority of the American people, they’ll not only be on the right side of history, they’ll dodge a political bullet. If they fail, many of those who vote the wrong way will have plenty of time to wrestle with their consciences after they lose office in 2018.
Kamal Essaheb, Policy and Advocacy Director, National Immigration Law Center said:
The question is: Is Trump serious about helping Dreamers and resolving the crisis he created? Or will he insist on holding the lives of immigrant youth hostage in order to move forward an extremist anti-immigrant agenda? It’s time to stop pontificating about a useless border wall and about trying to change the face of our immigration system as we know it. This is a situation that requires a concrete and specific solution and that solution is already available. We need to enact the Dream Act now.