Immigrant Youth Leaders in TX, FL & NM Confront Republicans to Protect DACA & TPS Programs

United We Dream Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, immigrant leaders in Texas, Florida and New Mexico continued their campaign to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs and to end the Trump administration’s mass deportation plans.

On August 15th, in Washington, D.C. and cities across the country, immigrants and people of conscience will mobilize to protect these vital programs — learn more at: DefendDACA.com.

Confrontation in Houston, TX

DACA beneficiary Damaris Gonzalez courageously confronted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at his fundraising event to question his heartless and immoral attack on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The confrontation followed a Sunday rally at Paxton’s Prestonwood Baptist Church where DACA beneficiaries pointed out the moral hypocrisy of attacking young people and immigrant families.

Watch Gonzalez’s confrontation with Paxton here.

Damaris Gonzalez, DACA beneficiary and Leader with United We Dream Houston, said:

“With his threat, Paxton is  attacking me, 800,000+ people and our families. I looked him right in the eye and told him that no human being is illegal, that this is the fight for our lives and we are not backing down.

He refused to take responsibility for the consequences of his actions. He couldn’t even acknowledge that the removal of DACA would hurt people like me and gave me empty excuses.

Honestly, it felt awesome to confront a man who has caused so much fear in so many people. I hope that everyone with DACA and all people who care about immigrants and the future of this country rise up and say enough is enough. This is our home and we are here to stay!”

Confrontation in Miami, FL

Immigrant community members and advocates rallied in front of Representative Mario Diaz-Balart’s Doral district office to demand he protect the DACA and TPS programs, divest from mass deportation, and invest in education, infrastructure and healthcare. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart most recently voted in favor of allocating $1.6 million to the construction of Trump’s border wall.

You can find pictures here, here, and here.

Maria Perez, mother of two DACA recipients, and member of United We Dream, said:

“I came to this country alone with my two children 17 years ago looking for a better future and stability for my family. DACA changed our lives and has been a grand blessing because it has allowed us to stay united and has given us the hope to fight for my children’s dreams: their studies and their work.

“Nevertheless, today DACA and my family are in danger. If they take away the program, our children will be the next targets of deportation. Congressman Diaz-Balart must raise his voice to protect the DACA program while we fight for a permanent solution for our families.”

Victory in Albuquerque, NM

In an overwhelming show of opposition to Trump’s deportation machine, immigrant youth were victorious in denouncing County Commissioner Wayne Johnson’s (District-5) proposition to remove Bernalillo County’s ‘immigrant friendly’ status, which would have emboldened ICE presence in Albuquerque.

The 4-1 vote against “rescinding AR 2017-22 Declaring Bernalillo County Immigrant Friendly” comes after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session sent a letter to Albuquerque’s Police Chief, Gordon Eden, threatening loss of federal funding unless he agrees to direct his police department to directly collaborate with immigration agents. County Commissioner Wayne Johnson (District-5) was the only supporter of his own proposition.

Photos and video of the meeting can be found here, here, here, and here.

Gabriela Hernandez, DACA beneficiary, Southwest Organizer for United We Dream and Director for the NM Dream Team, said:

“Immigrant youth made a call to Bernalillo County Commissioners, to say NO to Jeff Sessions’ demand that our police become a part of Trump’s deportation force, and they listened.

“Sessions’ racist vision is for immigrants to be in constant fear of deportation agents. That’s why he’s tried to kill the DACA program and that’s why he’s threatened to cut federal funding unless Albuquerque bows to his orders.

“As the movement of elected officials fighting to protect our families grows, our county commissioners have stood firmly alongside the very people that make up their districts; and that includes tens of thousands of immigrants and people of color who are at the core of our city!”