Thousands of people in Washington DC and ten states rallied today to demand Congress pass a clean version of the Dream Act, a replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program ended by the Trump administration. Students walked out of classes on at least four San Diego campuses in support of this action.
While there has been lip service by Congressional Republicans on passing some version of this legislation, the GOP leadership is insisting on adding measures to escalate border security and deportations. Senate Republicans are saying they have no plans to consider any bills this year.
“Operation Clean DREAM Act Now” is demanding Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, and congressional leaders allow a vote on a clean Dream Act—meaning a bill free of any poison pills ramping up Donald Trump’s mass deportation force—as soon as possible.
From NBC News:
Just over two months after the Trump administration announced it was rescinding the program that protects more than 800,000 young immigrants from deportation, hundreds of students staged walkouts and rallies Thursday nationwide and gathered in mass at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., demanding Congress pass legislation for DREAMERs and other DACA recipients.
“It’s been a year (since Trump was elected) and what has he done? He said he had the heart for DREAMers then he rescinded DACA,” said DREAMer Bruna Distinto, a senior at Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C. “We want to call attention to Congress that something needs to get done, that a DREAM Act needs to pass and not wait until next year.”
Amazing leaders from San Diego representing Mesa, SDSU and USD campuses. Ready to demand a clean Dream Act by December 8th!
We ready, we coming! ✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿#DreamActNow #HereToStay pic.twitter.com/GNrrDzrYgy
— Ambar Pinto (@pintoambar) November 9, 2017
Democrats have insisted on provisions of a clean Dream act be included in a year-end government spending package, since an adamant minority of Republicans have successfully blocked every version of this legislation since it was first introduced in 2001.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, has permitted 800,000 people to work and go to school in the U.S. without fear of deportation.
In 2012, President Obama allowed the children of immigrants brought in the U.S. illegally to stay in the U.S. through executive action. A follow up 2014 order expanding the program to include protecting the parents of those children was blocked by the courts after Texas and 25 other states, all with Republican governors, sued. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2016, whose 4-4 split left an earlier injunction standing.
On September 5, the administration of President Donald Trump announced it was phasing out DACA. Faced with overwhelming public support for the programs, Trump dodged a political hit by encouraging Congress to come up with a permanent fix within six months.
Since that time, political pressure has built up for Congressional action, as this piece from American Progress illustrates:
Each day that Congress delays acting on the Dream Act from now until March 5, 2018, approximately 122 people will lose their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)protection. That is 851 people each week, and more than 7,900 since the announcement. The logic behind this number is straightforward: The 22,000 eligible DACA recipients who did not successfully apply to renew their DACA will, as a result, see their DACA protections expire in the 181 days between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018…
…When members of Congress and the president talk about delaying consideration of the Dream Act until some time in the future, they are not only playing with the fears and anxieties of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients who stand to lose protection beginning in March, but are discounting the real harms already taking place for tens of thousands of DACA recipients. Advocates that regularly call upon Congress to pass the #DreamActNow are focused not only on averting the crisis ahead of us, but also preventing the ongoing crisis from getting any worse.
Twenty five Congressional Democrats announced via an op-ed in The Hill they will not support a funding package that fails to include a clean DREAM Act.
Nobody except for a small extreme faction in the Republican Party thinks deporting DREAMers is a good idea. Every poll indicates that the American people favor legal status for these young immigrants by a 4-to-1 margin. The overwhelming support crosses party, class, geographic and racial lines.
Yet, Speaker Ryan and other Republicans have insisted that measures to escalate border security and deportations must be coupled with legislation to legalize the status of DREAMers, even though the issues of border security and deportations have nothing to do with the legal status of DREAMers.
We are confident that if the Speaker allowed a vote tomorrow on the DREAM Act as it stands, without poison pill amendments, the majority in the House of Representatives would support it by a comfortable margin
In San Diego, the Immigrants Rights Consortium released a letter on Thursday signed by two dozen local and state elected officials asking Congress to protect Dreamers without further militarizing border communities. Signers included Assembly members Todd Gloria and Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, Mayors Mary Salas (Chula Vista) and Catherine Blakespear (Encinitas), along with Councilmembers Georgette Gomez (San Diego) and Stephen Houlahan (Santee).
Three vulnerable California Congressmen, including Rep. Darrell Issa, were among twenty Republicans urging the House leadership on Thursday to move quickly to find a fast solution for resolving the fate of hundreds of thousands of people brought to the country illegally as children.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Issa said people should question members of Congress who say they won’t support a bill without an increase in border enforcement or have other demands.
“Ask the question of 435 members of the House: Where are you? Are you willing to get off of the enforcement first? And are you willing to get off of the all-or-nothing? Because both are signs of people who are not willing to stand with the rest of us here today and make a difference in these young people’s lives, a difference that has been overdue for at least the 17 years that I have been here,” he said.
Issa voted against a legislative fix for DACA recipients, called the Dream Act, when it passed the House in 2010. The bill’s failure to pass the Senate was part of what prompted President Obama to create the DACA program in 2014.
House Speaker Paul Ryan rejected to the bipartisan calls for action, telling reporters, “It should be considered separately on its own merits.
President Trump and Senate Republicans held a closed-door White House meeting last week, agreeing they would oppose addressing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as part of the December funding legislation.
Clean Dream Act. Now. #DreamActNow pic.twitter.com/c7VNGe0uGO
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) November 9, 2017
So it would appear that Republicans–or at least their leadership–have elected to pick another fight they are likely to lose. Today’s demonstrations have brought the issue to a head, and the protests will likely continue at the district level around the country.
Combining this struggle with the GOP’s rapidly sinking tax scheme and voter sentiment as expressed on Tuesday and you have to wonder: “Are these people stupid or what?”
Don’t answer that question for a second…
Check out the ethno-nationalists –we’re-not-racists, honest– via Breitbart News story lede:
The diversity-visa jihadi has rolled over the Democrats’ audacious plan to win a no-strings amnesty for millions of young DACA illegals during the Christmas budget fight by using activists and skewed polls to bluff and intimidate GOP leaders.
As could be expected, their (probably) Russian friends on Twitter are active today, mocking immigrants and disparaging their causes. Some asshole tried to leave a comment along the lines of ‘Be Afraid of Dreamers’ here at SDFP earlier today. It got trashed before anybody could see it.
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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Anna Daniels says
My first call today was to my congressman Juan Vargas at his DC office 202-225-8045. I asked what position he has taken on the Clean Dream Act Now bill. His staffer had to put me on hold to find out (!). Vargas has co-sponsored the bill, but he still needs to hear that this is definitely a must for constituents.
Forgot DACA…..Amnesty Now! Provide full amnesty and fair pathway to citizenship for all 12 million illegally residing in the U.S. Then reform U.S. immigration policy to limit future illegal aliens.