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Ohio Dreamers, Advocates Call on Sen. Portman to Protect DACA and Cosponsor Dream Act of 2017

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Cleveland, OH – Today, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) introduced a 2017 version of the Dream Act.  Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) are also co-sponsors.

This legislation comes at a time when the future of the DACA program –  the ability for certain younger immigrants to apply for a work permit if they meet the criteria –  is unfairly uncertain.  President Obama created the policy in 2012, and it has been an unmitigated success.  However, there are some within the Trump Administration who want to end the program, as yet another component of their mass deportation agenda.

Said Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice: 

DACA works, and it must stay in place.  Over ten thousand young people in Ohio would benefit.  Many already have, and have been able to get college degrees and work in their chosen careers because of it.  Senator Sherrod Brown has shown support for DACA and Dreamers in the past, but Senator Portman has not.  The introduction of this bill is another chance for Senator Portman to state where he stands: will he work to protect Ohioans with DACA, and also cosponsor lasting legislative reform?

13,000 young people in Ohio today stand to benefit from DACA, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Today, these 13,000 Ohioans can get a work permit, driver’s license, and a reprieve from deportation, once they are old enough to apply.  Around 5,000 in Ohio have already done so to date.  Still, some bad actors within the Trump Administration want to end DACA.  But cancelling a policy that is so beneficial and popular would be a colossal mistake.

As Ohio DACA-recipient Vanessa Aguilera put it:

As a daughter of two deported parents, I know firsthand the damage that deportation has on a family.  As a mother of two year-old, beautiful girl, I fear that she too could be stripped of one or both of her parents and be forced to go through a system that won’t prioritize her well-being.  DACA has granted me a valid identity in this country and permits me to continue to nurture and financially support my daughter in her home country.

Jose Mendez, the Cleveland Director of DreamActivist Ohio, said:

As a DACA recipient living in the USA since the age of seven, I am American in every way.  I am currently twenty-five.  Senator Portman should defend DACA.  He should also cosponsor the 2017 Dream Act, and work to find a permanent solution for Dreamers like myself.  I know he has a heart and will do the right thing.  Ten thousand Dreamers in Ohio are counting him, and 1.6 million are counting on him nationwide.

Said Jose Arnulfo Cabrera:

As a senior of Xavier University, I am thankful that, because of DACA, I will be able to legally work after graduation. But when I heard the attacks made on DACA, I feared that no one would want to employ me because of my status.  If this new Dream Act bill is as good as the 2010 Dream Act then I believe that both Senator Brown and Portman  should fully support the bill.  I have meet with staff members from both Brown and Portman’s offices and they both shared how they want to fix our broken immigration system. The Dream Act isn’t going to fix all the problems, but it will get us one step closer to fixing our immigration system, which I believe also needs a comprehensive immigration reform bill.