Juan Escalante: “The fight for our lives and futures in this country is far from over”
Frank Sharry: “The fight moves to January and we are optimistic that victory is within reach”
Yesterday, Congress enacted a stopgap measure to continue federal government funding through January 19 of next year. This continuing resolution failed to address the urgent crisis facing Dreamers, who now face a holiday season with their lives upended and their futures uncertain.
The following are statements from Juan Escalante, Communications Manager with America’s Voice and a DACA beneficiary, and Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice.
According to Juan Escalante, Communications Manager with America’s Voice and a DACA beneficiary:
The courage and bravery displayed by immigrant youth throughout the past couple of weeks serves as a reminder of what the fight for the Dream Act is all about – the recognition of aspiring Americans whose sole wish is to contribute back to their communities. The fight for our lives and futures in this country is far from over. We will come back in January to ensure Congress passes a legislative solution to protect hundreds of thousands young people, like myself, from deportation.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
We may be delayed but we remain undeterred. The fight moves to January and we are optimistic that victory is within reach. The conditions are right for Congress to act to ensure that Dreamers are recognized in law as the Americans they are in fact.
Here are three reasons for our optimism:
1) Dreamers are putting their bodies on the line to fight for their futures, their families and their freedom. Their courage, commitment and resilience are an inspiration to those of us who believe in the American idea of a nation grounded in justice, freedom and equality. They are leading the way and they are embodying who we are at our best. It’s an honor to stand in solidarity with them in the fight for a permanent legislative solution, and for a more perfect union.
2) Americans support a solution and expect their elected representatives to deliver it. More than 8 out of 10 Americans want Congress to find a way so that young immigrants are able to remain in America; 2 out of 3 Republicans want the same. Allies from across the nation and from across the political spectrum — including business leaders, faith communities, labor and progressive allies, educators, and more — are calling on Congress to get the job done. The only place where this issue seems to be the least bit controversial is in Washington, DC.
3) In January, Democrats have leverage and Republicans need Democrats. If Democrats insist on the Dream Act being a must-pass priority and Republicans are willing to negotiate a decent, bipartisan policy approach, relief will be enacted. Sure, If Democrats signal weakness or if Republicans insist on poison pills, it could provoke a showdown and a standoff. But given the strong bipartisan support in both chambers for a solution, and the need for Democrats to deliver and Republicans to govern, we believe that however difficult the process, a breakthrough will be achieved.
At the end of the day, though, this struggle is not just about organizing and tactics and public opinion. It’s fundamentally about whether we live up to the values we hold dear. The Dreamers are Americans. They grew up here. They contribute here. They belong here. Anything less than enacting legislation to recognize these truths will degrade and diminish who we are. History is watching.