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DACA Recipients, Legal Experts, Advocates React to White House-GOP DACA Betrayal

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A recording of today’s event is available here

Today, DACA recipients, legal experts, and immigrant advocates gathered on a press call to react to news that Trump and Senate Republicans say they will not attach protection for Dreamers to the end-of-year spending bill.

Now is the time to pass the Dream Act. Every day that Republicans delay legislative action puts the lives and futures of Dreamers at risk of deportation. President Trump created this crisis by ending DACA, and now it’s up to Republicans in Congress to join with Democrats to resolve it, without loading up the popular Dream Act with unrelated and damaging provisions. A recording of today’s event is available here.

Larry Engelstein, Executive Vice President of Local 32BJ, said:

If President Trump and Senate Republicans abandon Dreamers, it will be a slap in the face to every parent who has tried to give the very best life to their child. Every day that goes by without action in Congress causes more chaos in the lives of Dreamers, and Republicans in Congress need to work across the aisle to resolve this.  Nearly 800,000 children who are a part of this program are getting education, paying taxes, and raising families; they are part of the fabric of this country.  In addition, hundreds of thousands more immigrants with Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, after being forced to flee places like Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador, are at risk – the Trump Administration is also poised to begin to remove these protections any day.  We need a clean Dream Act with no border wall or poison pills that are designed to hurt families.  War and natural disasters have made it impossible to these people to remain in their countries of origin.  We must both pass a clean Dream Act immediately and protect both Dreamers and TPS recipients in this country. 

Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of National Immigration Law Center, said:

The livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers and their families hang in legal limbo and cannot wait. Their communities cannot wait. We stand united with our allies to send a clear message to the GOP and Trump: we demand a legislative solution, now. Trump’s latest tweets and decisions are clearly guided by his white supremacist advisor Steve Miller, and we will not allow negotiations to begin with a white supremacist agenda. This all started because Trump ended DACA, and it time to fix the mess he made. Failure to act will lead to immediate and permanent damage. We will fight until we get it done. 

Kica Matos, Director of Immigrant Rights & Racial Justice at Center for Community Change Action, said:

We are not asking Congress to act before the end of the year, we’re demanding it. Grow a backbone, have some courage, do what the majority of Americans want, and pass the Dream Act immediately. There are already 22,000 DACA-recipients at risk of deportation, because they couldn’t renew their applications by the very short and arbitrary October 5th deadline set by the Trump administration. Our message is very clear: Stop talking and get it together. Move now, or you will forever have on your conscience the possible deportation and certain disruption of the lives of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers and their families. The Trump administration began this year with attacking immigrants through the Muslim ban and anti-immigrant executive orders, and now they look to close it with extreme vetting, threats to the diversity visas, and leaving the lives of 800,000 at risk. This agenda seems to be about making America white again, and we will fight it with everything we have. 

Adrian Reyna, Director of Membership and Technology Strategies at United We Dream and DACA-recipient, said:

We’ve been advocating for a clean Dream Act by December ever since Trump decided to create this whole mess in the first place by ending DACA. Now, these Senators have a meeting where they basically decided to put my life and the life of my sister and the hundreds of thousands of members of United We Dream in the line of fire for Trump’s deportation agents. This is unacceptable and I’m gonna call it what it is: dirty politics. We are not bargaining chips for a white supremacist wish list to militarize the border and increase enforcement that will terrorize our communities. That is not acceptable. It is immoral what Republicans are doing with our lives. We need a clean Dream Act now.  

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, said:

If Republicans were serious about a solution, they would be working directly with Democrats to pass the bipartisan Dream Act ASAP.  The votes exist to pass the bill in both chambers of Congress, if Republicans were willing to work with Democrats to get it done.  Unfortunately, we’re seeing today that their clear intention is to delay action in order to derail a solution.  This is unconscionable and un-American.