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PA Dreamers and Their Allies Demand Action On a DACA Fix

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Congressmen Dent, Costello, Fitzpatrick, Thompson, Meehan Support Legislation While Congressman Lloyd Smucker Has Yet To Act

Lancaster, PA – Residents of Lancaster are calling on Congress to immediately pass legislation protecting the livelihood of young immigrants who received legal status through the popular DACA program.

An estimated 18,000 Pennsylvanians would qualify for the Dream Act and the legislation would add an estimated $230 million annually to the state’s GDP in the long run. Congressmen Charles Dent, Ryan Costello, Brian Fitzpatrick have all cosponsored legislation creating a permanent status for Dreamers and they, along with Congressmen Glenn Thompson and Patrick Meehan, signed onto a letter of 34 GOP House Members demanding a fix for Dreamers before the end of 2017.

However, Congressman Lloyd Smucker, the member of Congress who represents the Lancaster area, has yet to take a position on the Dream Act. The Congressman has statedthat he backs a legislative solution for people who are “active and positive residents,” but he has yet to put his support behind any proposed legislative fixes. Two years ago, then-State Senator Lloyd Smucker was the main sponsor of SB 760, otherwise known as the Pennsylvania Dream Act, a bill that would grant in-state tuition for undocumented students.

The following statements are letters to the editor recently published in the LNP.

A moral crisis in America
By Shirley Drot

“I am a Christian, like many members of Congress. We should set aside our political differences, focus on what God is calling us to do and have compassion for others. I came to this country as a 3-year-old. I had no choice in the decision to come to America, the home I love with all my heart. I am willing to sacrifice my life for this country by joining our armed forces, but because I am not a U.S. citizen, I cannot serve. I am willing to sacrifice everything for the United States, even as I face the threat of losing everything.”

Debunking some DACA myths
By Carrie Carranza

“I work as a legal immigration counselor. I practice immigration law by representing clients to the Department of Homeland Security as a Department of Justice accredited representative. I want to clarify what the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is and is not. DACA was implemented through executive action in 2012 by President Barack Obama. It benefited immigrants who have no legal status because they were only children when they came to this country — unable, unaware and often ineligible for any permanent immigration status.”

Wishing for everything from prosperous farms to world peace in 2018
By Roger Avila-Vidal

“As an immigrant from Mexico living in the shadow of all the monuments that represent freedom and liberty, I hope that in 2018 a definite, clean DREAM Act will be set in place to give people like me a chance to actually thrive in this nation. My parents left everything they knew to give me a better life, and all I want to do is make them proud and achieve my own personal dreams. Many others are in a similar situation; we know nothing else but America, and we are building our lives here only to be demonized by our neighbors and elected officials. I hope that 2018 brings acceptance and the chance for everyone to succeed. I hope that DREAMers like me will actually be able to live their dreams of graduating from college, following their career paths. I want 2018 to be the year when major progress will be made, not just for undocumented youth but for everyone who has been branded second-class citizens just because of who they are.”

Dream Act makes economic sense
By Carlos Gonzalez

“Like other workers, we pay millions in federal, state and local taxes. I pay a third of my income in taxes, which contributes to the viability of federal programs like Social Security and Medicaid, although DACA beneficiaries like me do not qualify for federal programs. Having a stable income allowed me to purchase my first car, donate more regularly to charity and save a portion of my income. In the near future, I hope to buy a home and potentially start my own business in Lancaster.”

Ending DACA would destroy families
By Mayra Ramirez Guzman

“I know that I give to this community and do not take from it. Nonetheless, I have an expiration date, not too far away, and I am haunted by it day and night. Every day that Congress fails to take action, parents like me are closer to deportation. For those who call my child an “anchor baby,” just remember you are one as well because at the end of the day the true Americans are the indigenous people.”

Looking for more from Smucker
By Agustina Drot de Gourville

“In 2015, when Smucker served as a member of the state Senate, he sponsored the Pennsylvania DREAM Act, statewide legislation that would have made it possible for Pennsylvania DACA recipients to benefit from in-state tuition at public colleges and universities (although this legislation would not have protected us from deportation).
As a U.S. representative, Smucker has turned his back on these very same Pennsylvanians. Rep. Smucker, we urge you to find your courage, return to your roots, and support a clean DREAM Act now.”

For more information, read this post by Juan Escalante, Communications Manager with America’s Voice.