In a Chorus of Joyful Rebellion, Say: Protect Immigrant Youth Now!
Cities Nationwide – Throughout the last week and on March 5th, immigrant youth took action in cities across the country and in Washington, DC to call on Republican House Members to protect immigrant youth from Trump’s deportation agents and to not support budget proposals to hire deportation agents or build detention camps. In addition to United We Dream events, partner groups from across the immigrant rights movement also took action across the country.
March 5th was the cruel deadline that Trump gave Congress to fix the crisis he started when he rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He gave Congress until March 5th to solve the crisis he created and then — along with Republican Congressional leaders — sabotaged THREE bipartisan proposals to protect immigrant youth and have continued to block the Dream Act.
Since Trump killed DACA, immigrant youth have been losing protections every day and now that number is set to quadruple. Instead of becoming citizens, immigrant youth are being hunted.
- Miguel Reyes Garcia, a DACA recipient who has lived in New Jersey since the age of nine and was profiled by ICE and locked in a detention camp.
- Dennis Rivera – Sarmiento, an undocumented high school student from Texas with plans to graduate this May, but was detained after standing up to a bully at school. Although Dennis didn’t qualify for DACA protections, he would benefit from the Dream Act.
- Edder Rizo Sanchez who was detained with his DACA but has been kept in a detention camp since November.
Young leaders rose up in cities from coast to coast including: Phoenix, AZ; Colorado Springs, CO; Miami, FL; Chicago, IL; Kansas City, MO; Charlotte, NC; New York, NY; Chattanooga, TN; Austin, TX; College Station, TX; Dallas, TX; El Paso, TX; Houston, TX; Laredo, TX; Spokane, WA; Wenatchee, WA and more.
Moises Rodriguez Cruz, resident of Chicago, IL who would be protected by the Dream Act and organized his first rally with 45 community members, said:
“We came together for one simple reason: to call upon Illinois Republican Reps. Peter Roskam, Rodney Davis, Michael Bost, and all Members of Congress to do their job by granting our communities the justice, dignity, and respect that we deserve. I could not be more happy with how our community came together to show support for undocumented youth and to demand a Dream Act.”
Nery Lopez, resident of Miami, FL who would qualify for the Dream Act and organized a rally outside the home of Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), said:
“I chose to take action to hold Rep. Curbelo accountable because in the last few months he voted on spending bills that didn’t include the Dream Act. With permanent protection I could be the first in my family to graduate from college and continue my education in hopes of becoming a medical anthropologist.”
Alex Martinez is a resident of Kansas City, MO who would be protected by the Dream Act and Director of Kansas/Missouri Dream Alliance. He organized a march urging Missouri Republican Reps. Sam Graves and Vicky Hartzler to pass the Dream Act and said:
“Immigrant youth and our community members took action to send a clear message to Reps. Sam Graves and Vicky Hartzler and the Trump administration: Kansas City loves and welcomes undocumented youth! We prayed together, we marched together, and we celebrated each other because this is our home and we deserve to live our lives with certainty and safety.”
Liliana Fausto, resident of Wenatchee, WA who organized a student protest at the district office of Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), said:
“We rallied at Rep. Reichert’s district office because we want a Dream Act that will allow us to live without fear of deportation and at the same time, keep our families together! I want Congress to see all the work we are doing and pass the Dream Act to bring peace, safety, and security to millions.”
Arlin Tellez Martinez, resident of Charlotte, NC who would be protected by the Dream Act and who organized a march to demand action from NC Republican Congressional leaders, said:
“My DACA ends in June of 2018, so when Trump ended the program I chose to put my life on hold and fight for the Dream Act because I need to feel safe and I need to be able to work in order to afford college. My community has taught me that I am powerful and I was able to create a space in my hometown to show Congressional leaders that our resilience is stronger than ever before.”
Jonathan Peña, resident of Colorado Springs, CO whose sister would be protected by the Dream Act and who organized a walkout at Mitchell High School, said:
“Mitchell High School took action today to stand in solidarity with undocumented youth because our friends and family are tired of living in fear from deadline to deadline. We want Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and Colorado’s elected officials who’ve stood in the way of a Dream Act to know that a permanent solution would end the fear of deportation for the students who we go to school with, the students who we call our friends and our family.”
Brenda Rodriguez, resident of Spokane, WA who would be protected with the Dream Act and who organized a rally outside the district office of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), said:
“Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers promised us she would do everything in her power to pass a permanent solution to the crisis we’re facing by March 5th, but she has failed to act.
I’m one of the 3,000 immigrant youth living in her district that would benefit from the Dream Act and one day I hope to be an educator. We will continue to hold Rep. McMorris Rodgers accountable and push her to reject Trump’s mass deportation agenda.”
Carmen Lozano, resident of Austin, TX and who attended a rally to call out Dream Killer Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) with her daughter Karen, a teacher and DACA recipient who would be protected under the Dream Act. She said:
“Los invito a todos a seguir luchando porque nos merecemos ser respetados y no humillados. Cuando sigamos en la lucha, atras, enfrente y al lado de nuestros hijos yo se que podemos ganar justicia y libertad para todos. Nuestros hijos nos están demostrando su fuerza y vamos a demostrarle a ellos que nosotros también somos fuertes y estamos aquí para quedarnos!”
“I invite everyone to keep fighting because we deserve to be respected, not humiliated. When we keep fighting behind, in front of, and beside our children I know that we can win justice and liberty for all. Our children are demonstrating to us their strength and we will show them that we are strong too and that we are here to stay!”
Roberto Valadez, a resident of El Paso, TX who would be protected by the Dream Act and is a leader with Soñando Juntos. He organized a Dream Act walkout to protest Dream Killer Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) obstructionism on a permanent solution and said:
“We walked out of our classes today to call out Republican leadership and their obstruction of a permanent solution that will give protection and relief to millions of immigrant youth. Trump created a humanitarian crisis when he ended protections for immigrant youth and Congress has been playing politics for months instead of creating a solution. We are here to fight for as long as it takes because we are here to stay.”
Alison, 15, resident of Houston, TX who does not have DACA but would be protected under the Dream Act, rallied to protest Dream Killer Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) for leaving immigrant youth vulnerable and said:
“I turned 15 in July and was not able to apply for DACA before Trump killed the program. This has me thinking differently about my education because I will not have the same opportunities so many have had when DACA existed. I marched today with my mom and we will remain in this fight for as long as it takes!”
Jisu Kim, resident of New York, NY who would be protected by the Dream Act and organized a 300 person rally with MinKwon Center, Asian American Dreamers Collective, the New York Immigration Coalition, and more, said:
“I had to take action yesterday because it was a significant day for folks with DACA like me, but it was also a day to show solidarity with all our immigrant communities that are under attack. Dream Act will not only provide a pathway to citizenship for me, but it will also mean that I will not have to feel dejected at the lack of certainty for my future.”
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.