Washington, DC & cities nationwide – Today, just over two months after Trump killed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, over a thousand immigrant youth and people of conscience took over the Hart Senate Building at the nation’s Capitol to demand Congress pass a clean Dream Act before the end of this year: a path to citizenship with permanent protection and no dangerous enforcement add-ons.
New data released today underscores the urgency for a clean Dream Act now as 7,901 undocumented youth have already lost DACA protections since September 5th of this year.
Over 1,500 young people walked out of DC Capitol area schools and traveled from Oregon, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Georgia, Massachusetts, California, New York, Kansas, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Oklahoma.
The Washington, DC event was made possible with the collaboration of the amazing partners of the Defend Our Dream campaign.
In reaction to today’s events, Paul Ryan issued comments to deflect the urgency and the crowd spontaneously marched to his office to shout “show your face, we need a clean Dream Act now!”
In the Hart Senate Building, fifteen undocumented youth and DACA beneficiaries were arrested after unfurling 20-foot long banners reading “Clean Dream Act Now!” You can find videos of the banners here and arrests here. Photos of arrests here.
Zaira Lopez, DACA recipient and student at Trinity Washington University who would qualify for the Dream Act, said:
“I immigrated here when I was 3 months old and was shocked to find out I was undocumented at 16 when I tried applying for a driver’s license. I was at 18, two events changed my life: DACA was announced and my grandfather passed away in Mexico due to inadequate healthcare.
“I suddenly knew what I had to do. My hope is to become a nurse practitioner, help underrepresented communities and take care of families. I walked out today for a clean Dream Act so that my generation is able to help our communities and live in peace with our families.”
Abril Gallardo, DACA recipient from Phoenix, AZ and Communications Director for Living United for Change in Arizona who would qualify for the Dream Act, said:
“Our immigrant community has been fighting and resisting Trump’s attacks, and today, we witnessed how immigrant youth and parents came to Congress from the four corners of the country to send a message loud and clear: we need a clean Dream Act now! I feel proud to have reclaimed the U.S. Senate building to remind Congress that close to 2 million lives are in limbo and in need of protection. Immigrant youth and the American people expect them to deliver on a clean Dream Act before the end of the year!”
Ricardo Campos, Regional Organizer with United We Dream who would qualify for the Dream Act, said:
“Today, immigrant youth from across the country arrived in D.C. and took our nation’s Capitol by storm to demand Congress pass a clean Dream Act now! Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan must stop blocking opportunities, safety, and dignity for immigrant youth who are losing their livelihood with each passing day. We are standing our ground and saying we are here to stay. The time is now for the moral choice to be made: we need a clean Dream Act now!”
Greisa Martinez, Advocacy Director for United We Dream who would qualify for the Dream Act, said:
“Speaker Ryan said today that there was no urgency to pass the Dream Act this year and immigrant youth immediately responded. We marched to his office and shouted that he should tell it to our face. Thousands are losing their protection every day and members of Congress need to get this done by the end of the year.”
Cal State San Marcos in San Diego (top left); Santa Fe High School in Oklahoma City, (top right); Austin High School in Austin (bottom)
Meanwhile, in San Diego, Oklahoma City, Miami, Austin, Houston, El Paso, New York City, and more, immigrant youth led college and high school walkouts and rallies across the country to amplify the voices of immigrant youth at home who need protections. While Congress drags their feet, immigrant youth rose up and walked it out for a clean Dream Act!
You can find live streams of all walkouts that happened today by clicking here.
Analleli, an undocumented senior who would qualify for the Dream Act at Vista High School in San Diego, CA, said:
“I walked out today because I live in a city where seeing Border Patrol patrolling our neighborhoods is the norm. I’m tired of being scared, I’m tired of feeling like my family is going to be arrested just for going to a grocery store. I want Congress to know that my school and community need a clean Dream Act by December.”
Dunia, a student at Santa Fe High School in Oklahoma City, OK who would qualify for the Dream Act said:
“I’m walking out for myself, my parents, and DACA teachers at my high school. I was in middle school when I first found out about DACA because my older sister was applying for it — I suddenly understood I was going to face obstacles with college and jobs because of my immigration status but that DACA could help me. I’m fortunate to have DACA now even though the program has been terminated. I want Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and everyone to know that we will not give up, this is our home and we will fight until we get what we deserve: a clean Dream Act!”
Jonathan Zapeta, an undocumented student at the University of Houston – Downtown in Houston, TX, who would qualify for the Dream Act, said:
“I walked out today because Trump and his ICE agents’ unchecked authority have been a threat to undocumented communities. It’s up to us to stand up and fight for our loved ones, for our dignity and safety. Senator Cornyn and all Members of Congress need to know that we need a clean Dream Act now because every day that passes, people like me can be the next target in Trump’s cruel white supremacist scheme to drive us out.”
You can find a live stream here.
Belén Sisa, a potential Dream Act beneficiary from Arizona who was arrested today at the Senate Hart Building, said:
“Today I was arrested for making the moral choice to fight for a bill that can bring dignity and justice to over a million undocumented youth: a clean Dream Act. The Dream Act would allow me to finish my degree and become a lawyer who gives back to my community. Speaker Ryan: we can’t wait until March for Congress to act. We’re taking our lives into our own hands and calling on you and Congress to deliver right here and now.”