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Rep. Beto O’Rourke and El Cenizo Mayor Raul Reyes Join Local Leaders and Dreamers in Call for a Clean Dream Act

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For a recording of today’s call, click here.

El Paso, TX – On a press call today, Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX-16) and El Cenizo Mayor Raul Reyes joined local pediatrician Dr. Dolly Seiver; Mario Carrillo, Director of America’s Voice: Texas; and Clint, TX Dreamer Melissa Martinez to discuss why a legislative solution for Dreamers is so urgent for Texas and America. In Texas, there are over120,000 DACA recipients whose futures and opportunities to fully contribute to their communities are threatened by President Trump’s decision to end the popular and successful DACA program.

This call comes as tens of thousands of Dreamers will lose DACA because of an arbitrary deadline created by the Trump administration for 154,000 Dreamers to renew their status. If Congress can’t pass the Dream Act then it must be included in the bill that funds the government in December.

For a recording of today’s call, click here.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX-16), said:

Protecting DREAMers must be a top priority for Congress in the coming weeks. DACA recipients like Melissa from El Paso County are every bit as American as my three kids. They study in school, lead productive and successful careers, serve in our military and are a critical piece of the fabric of our communities. The DREAM Act has bipartisan, bicameral support and if presented on the floor of the House today, it would pass. For these very reasons, I urge my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to have an open and productive debate about passing a clean DREAM Act because we must permanently protect DREAMers living in El Paso, throughout Texas and across America. It’s not just time; it’s long overdue.

El Cenizo Mayor Raul Reyes, said:

I represent a small town along the U.S.-Mexican border. We were the first city to sue the state of Texas against SB4, a reckless and discriminatory bill. During and after the presidential election, we’ve seen a lot of hate and division in our communities. In Texas, we must embrace our diversity and not suppress it, yet more and more, we’ve seen fear and uncertainty rising. I think about our local Dreamers, like Angel Garza, who woke up at 4:30 every morning to go to a special magnet high school, got home around 8pm each night, and had to witness his mom be deported on many occasions. Despite all of those circumstances, he was able to graduate with a high GPA, and was offered a full-ride scholarship to Duke. Not even one month in, he’s already worried about his future. I am thankful for the bravery of Dreamers, and hopeful for a long-term solution. Mayors across Texas should be at the forefront, speaking out and advocating for their citizens.

Dr. Dolly Seiver, Pediatrician in Brownsville, TX, said:

I am a pediatrician in Brownsville, TX, a border town on the southern tip of Texas.  I live and work here and I was born and raised here.  Anyone who spends any time here can easily see that, number one, it is safe and number two, the line drawn on geographic maps separating the United States and Mexico is not nearly as crisp as anyone would like to believe. Child immigrants are here to stay and denying them a right to work and protection from deportation only creates certain consequences. Passing a clean Dream Act is not only the right thing, it is the only necessary thing.  The violence on the border people speak of simply does not exist.  The FBI ranked the most dangerous cities in 2015 and of the 24 cities in Texas, Brownsville was dead last. The safest place in the state sits on the border fence. And I can tell you, the fence is not what made it safe.  Militarizing this zone by adding troops and adding “safety” only adds to the chronic stress and its consequences of law-abiding residents. As a pediatrician, I see the child in everyone.  I call on Congress to please do what is right.  Treat people with the kindness and respect with which they would expect to be treated.  We cannot change the despair that brought them here, but we can change the despair that they feel when they arrive.

Melissa Martinez, DACA Recipient from Clint, TX, said:

I am twenty-two years old and thanks to DACA, I am studying applied mathematics at the University of Texas at El Paso, and am about to graduate in May 2018. I am also currently an intern for a nonprofit organization called the Labor Justice Committee. We help people who have been victims of wage cuts and trafficking. After graduation, I would like to work for a technology based company, like Intel. I am thankful for DACA because without it, I would never have been able to achieve the things that I’ve done. I came to the U.S. when I was 5 years old. My mom always told me with certainty that there would one day be immigration reform – she passed on that hope to me and my brother. We still believe. Trump’s removal of DACA opened up many eyes to Dreamers and their contributions. We call on Congress to make the right decision and pass a clean Dream Act.