Activists Urge Congress to Pass the Dream Act

By catherine lizette gonzalez Dec 05, 2017

Three months ago, the Trump administration ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that gave 800,000 immigrants who came to the United States as children the ability to legally work and live in the United States. Since then, young people with undocumented immigration status have rallied to bolster the people who may soon lose—or have already lost—protection from deportation.

Immigrant youth and allies are urging Congress to include what they call a "clean Dream Act" in its government spending measure before federal funding expires at the end of the year. According to the National Immigration Law Center, a clean Dream Act would ensure a pathway to citzenship for DACA recipients, called "dreamers," without putting other immigrants at risk for deportation or harming border communities in the South.

Several members of Congress have already expressed support for similar legislation. This summer, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced the 2017 Dream Act, which would halt removal proceedings and grant lawful permanent residency for immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children. And earlier today (December 5), 34 House GOP members penned a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) urging a 2017 vote on legislation to protect DACA recipients, as reported by The Hill. Several Democrats have threatened to withhold support for government funding if it does not include a path to citizenship for dreamers.

Today, many youth with undocumented status took to Capitol Hill to demand a bipartisan solution that will grant dreamers a pathway to citizenship and also ensure the safety of other immigrants. More than 100 Black and Asian American Pacific Islander immigrant activists held a press conference in Washington, D.C., urging Congress to pass the Dream Act before the year’s end. And members from United We Dream also staged a sit-in at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s (R-Ky.) office, as shown in the video below:

Since yesterday, members from the OurDream campaign have taken the fight to local congressional offices around the country for two days of protest, sharing acts of civil disobedience with the hashtag #NoDreamNoDeal. Activists and allies also planned sit-ins to demand that 45 Democrats and Republicans—including Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)—vote "no" on government spending measures that don’t help dreamers. 

Below, scenes from several actions: