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New “DAPA Dinners” Effort Invites 2016 Candidates to Break Bread with Immigrant Families

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Effort Seeks to Connect Candidates with DAPA-Eligible Families for Dinner On or Around the 1-Year Anniversary of DAPA Announcement on Nov. 20th

Today, America’s Voice, United We Dream Action and Center for Community Change Action/Fair Immigration Reform Movement announce “DAPA Dinners” – a new initiative that invites all 2016 candidates and Members of Congress to join an immigrant family for dinner on or around the one-year anniversary of the DAPA announcement on November 20, 2015.  

On November 5th, the three organizations sent a letter to all presidential candidates of both parties inviting each candidate to break bread with a DAPA-eligible family. A similar letter to Senators and Members of Congress was also distributed today.

In the Huffington Post, Elise Foley highlights the new “DAPA Dinners” effort, noting:

“[T]he organizers said they want the presidential hopefuls to ‘see for yourself how they are just like other American families.’ They’re willing to do the dinners any time that’s convenient and in any state — a move that makes it harder for candidates to use scheduling conflicts as an excuse.

…There are numerous examples of politicians seeing an issue differently because they know someone affected — look at New Jersey governor and GOP candidate Chris Christie’s remarks on addiction, or Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announcing support for same-sex marriage after his son came out as gay. And the immigrant rights community has used that strategy for years, with people ‘coming out’ as undocumented in hopes that it would show friends and neighbors the need for immigration reform.”

According to Greisa Martinez, Advocacy Coordinator for United We Dream: “With 2016 politics there’s been a lot written about what each of the candidates would do for our families—or against them. But it’s important for our politics to be grounded in the real lived experiences of our families, not just talking points and soundbites.”

According to Sulma Arias, Immigration Field Director for CCCA/FIRM: “Any presidential candidate who sits down with an immigrant family no doubt will discover that the love they have for each other is worth every sacrifice they have made to come to the U.S. to make better lives. And we hope candidates will see that their policies have real effects on families in a way that can allow America to move forward around an agenda that puts families first and keeps them together.”

According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice: “Millions of American families who would benefit from DAPA are instead stuck in limbo due to the ongoing legal challenges against these programs and the recent partisan ruling in the 5th circuit. This means that the Supreme Court should take up the case next term to affirm the constitutionality of DAPA. This also means that candidates of both parties should take the time to meet DAPA-eligible families to learn what is at stake and who is affected most by the ongoing delays.”

Candidates who join a DAPA dinner will be making modern presidential campaign history. We aren’t aware of any previous occasions of presidential candidates visiting with an immigrant family headed by an undocumented immigrant.