Immigrant Groups and Allies Call on Congressional Democrats to Force Vote on Dream Act
For Immediate Release
September 7, 2017
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Washington, DC — Today, Kamal Essaheb of the National Immigration Law Center, Greisa Martinez of United We Dream, and Angel Padilla of the Indivisible Project issued the following statement on congressional Democrats’ legislative response to Trump’s announcement that he would be ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) after six months unless Congress acts.
“Today, Democratic congressional leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi celebrated a political win: they got Trump to side with them instead of Republicans on must-pass September bills. Their deal with Trump just one day after he killed the DACA program is not consistent with the commitment they made to immigrant youth to do everything they could to protect them. When the lives of 800,000 immigrant youth are on the line, it is no time for political games.
“Following Trump’s decision to eliminate the DACA program, Democrats had a rare opportunity to force congressional action on the Dream Act to protect immigrant youth. They had the leverage of a packed September agenda, full of must-pass bills and momentum of an activated grassroots base that is doing their part to fight for immigrants targeted by Trump. The world’s attention is focused on DACA and public sympathy for the many young immigrants whose worst fears had been realized is at an all time high. And yet Democratic leaders Schumer and Pelosi instead chose to make a deal with Trump, with a vague promise of action on the Dream Act down the road.
“At a time of great urgency, the message Schumer and Pelosi sent to immigrant youth was, ‘wait.’ Yet every day that teenagers are not able to apply for DACA is a day that they fall into a deadly gap where they live at risk of deportation.
“Time and time again, Democratic leaders tell immigrants that relief from deportation would come someday down the road — and that someday never comes. We are tired of waiting. That’s why we’re calling on Democrats to attach the Dream Act – without dangerous enforcement add-ons – to every single must-pass bill, without delay. Immigrants and progressive activists are doing our part to protect immigrant young people – it is time that you do yours.”
United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful nonpartisan network made up of 55 local groups in 26 states. UWD organizes and advocates for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status. We seek to address the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth and believe that by empowering immigrant youth, we can advance the cause of the entire community—justice for all immigrants. You can find more about UWD online at www.unitedwedream.org