Democrats and Moderate Republicans Fail to Protect Immigrant Youth As Urgency Grows and More Become Vulnerable to Deportation

United We Dream Press Releases

From Morning to Midnight, Immigrant Youth Visit 240 Congressional Offices to Demand the Dream Act, Say “This Is Our Home and Our Eyes Are Set On Freedom”

For Immediate Release
Media Contacts:
Bruna Bouhid | bruna@unitedwedream.org | 202.850.0812
Sheridan Aguirre | sheridan@unitedwedream.org | 202.793.2267

Washington, DC – Early this morning, members of both parties moved to end the GOP shutdown without securing any protections for immigrant youth who are in grave danger. The votes followed a deal, crafted by Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Republicans, to use the plight of immigrant youth to secure commitments on other issues.

The lack of determination from Members of Congress was contrasted yesterday with the energy of immigrant youth who visited 240 House Democrat and moderate Republican offices yesterday over the course of 14 hours with one message: stop the political games and pass the Dream Act now!

Karen Martinez, 19, who does not have DACA but would qualify for the Dream Act, and resident of Washington State, said:

“Yesterday I felt worried and angry because I expected the Democrats to be as determined as we are to get the Dream Act passed. I never qualified for DACA protections and I currently go to a university that’s near one of the immigrant detention camps so I’m afraid to even go to school. I’m ready for a Dream Act to pass so that I can go on to become a lawyer and feel safe in the place where I have grown up.”

Greisa Martinez Rosas, Advocacy Director for United We Dream who would qualify for the Dream Act, said:

“Today, the world can legitimately wonder whether an opposition to Trump’s racist agenda exists in Congress. Democrats and moderate Republicans had leverage to protect immigrant youth but instead of protecting us, they used our suffering as a bargaining chip to get more dollars for other projects.

“The backstabbing by Chuck Schumer, betrayal by 73 House Democrats and Paul Ryan’s cruel games  leave me, my sisters, and millions of immigrant youth at greater risk of being dragged to detention camps and deported. Speeches, crocodile tears and Facebook posts will not save a single life.

“Yesterday, over a hundred immigrant youth marched through the halls of Capitol Hill, visiting 240 House Democrats and moderate Republican offices for 14 hours to share our stories and demand permanent protection that does not harm our families and other immigrants.

“We fight because the lives of ourselves and our loved ones are at stake. Since Trump killed DACA, over 19,000 immigrant youth have lost their livelihoods and protections and 850 more become vulnerable each week. Millions of us have no protection at all and Congress has a moral responsibility to oppose Trump’s white supremacist plans to wipe us from the face of this country.

“Each day of delay means more ruthless deportations and a further erosion of our nation’s values. But we continue to fight because this is our home and our eyes are set on freedom.”

Tasneem Al-Michael, 18, who would qualify for the Dream Act and is a resident of Oklahoma, said:

“I am one of thousands of South Asian immigrant youth who need a Dream Act now to feel safe and to thrive. One day I want to start an arts education non-profit that benefits my communities.

“Congress knows about the Dream Act, they’ve seen our faces, and they know how to get it done, but they continue to lack the moral compass to make it a reality. This is our home and we’re tired of delays and promises without action.”

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United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 400,000 members and 48 affiliate organizations across 26 states. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States.