Today, the Senate passed the bipartisan immigration bill, which though the result of outrageous compromises, is still a big step forward for the immigration debate and for DREAMers and our families and communities.
Florida DREAMer and United We Dream National Coordinating Committee Member Evelyn Rivera, whose mother was deported over six years ago after a traffic stop and who she reunited with through the border fence two weeks ago, said:
“Today, 100 DREAMers were in the Senate gallery to send a message that we are watching and will continue to hold politicians from both parties accountable for delivering reform with a real, inclusive pathway to citizenship. The momentum on immigration reform is the direct result of organizing muscle across the country by immigrant youth leaders and our allies and the result of power wielded by Latino and immigrant community voters at the ballot box.
We are deeply disappointed by the compromises that negotiators agreed to in order to secure additional Republican support for the bill. We know these deals will only add to the pain DREAMers and our parents have experienced from border militarization and record deportations.
We also celebrate the major victories in the bill that we made happen, like the strongest DREAM Act provisions ever, and thank Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) for his commitment to DREAMers. However, we are disappointed that “little dreamers” were left out of the fast track to citizenship we won for DREAM Act-eligible youth.
The Senate’s passage of immigration reform legislation is important but just one step in a long march towards justice. Today’s vote should send an unmistakable signal to the House of Representatives to take action to move immigration reform forward, delivering a real solution to our broken immigration system.
Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) made passing immigration reform a top priority and worked with leaders from both parties to move the bill quickly through the Senate. Now it’s up to Speaker Boehner to follow suit—pass immigration reform with a real roadmap to citizenship this year. So far, his caucus has voted for extreme anti-immigrant legislation and slammed DREAMers by undermining the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. House leaders have an opportunity to get on the right side of history and will have to answer to DREAMers, and voters, if they don’t.
Both parties should be on notice that DREAMers will not accept anything less than justice for our communities and we will not rest until our families are reunited, until a clear and inclusive roadmap to citizenship for all 11 million is written into law and our nation’s out-of-control immigration enforcement agents and militarized border are brought under control.
As the debate unfolded, GOP leaders kept moving the goalposts, insisting on more and more wasteful and excessive border security measures and launching attacks on our families. Senator Marco Rubio was often the one leading the charge and DREAMers won’t let him get away with betraying our community. DREAMers are here to say to every single politician: we’re watching! No more. Enough is enough.”
As attention turns to the House of Representatives, United We Dream leaders from across the country will converge for the largest mock citizenship ceremony ever on July 10th in Washington, D.C. and will carry our message directly to key members of the House.