Time to ‘turn up the heat’ to pass the DREAM Act

MIRA joined U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey and several Dreamers in a call for urgent action in Congress to enable DACA recipients to stay legally in the U.S.

Estefany speaks at Markey presser Jan. 3 2018.Estefany, 19, a student at UMass Boston, urged Congress to act now to pass the DREAM Act, before her future is wrecked.

BOSTON, January 3, 2018 – Estefany attended one of Boston’s best high schools and earned good grades, but even with DACA, she didn’t qualify for most forms of financial aid and had to struggle to find her way into college. With an Unafraid Scholarship and a second grant, she was able to enroll in UMass Boston, planning to major in international relations.

On her first day of college, President Trump ended DACA.

“That crushed my heart,” she said.

Her status expires at the end of next semester. She can still study after that – but will she ever be able to pursue the career she’s working so hard for?

With U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey at her side, Estefany urged Congress to act now to pass the DREAM Act. “We need to pass something,” she said. “It’s not something you can do in a year, because in a year, I don’t know where I’m going to be, and all my hard work is going into the trash.”

“Do something. It’s urgent.”

Senator Markey invited Estefany and other Dreamers to join him for a press conference in his Boston office to make a strong statement in support of the DREAM Act before he returned to Capitol Hill.

“This is a human tragedy,” the Senator said of DACA recipients’ current plight. “It is a heartbreaking story. It is unjust, and it is just plain wrong. We should not punish these young people who have no other home than the United States of America. We should not go back on the word we gave when we told these young people to come out of the shadows.” [ watch video ]

MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona, whom the Senator introduced as a “five-star general” in the DREAM Act campaign, noted that Congress had failed Dreamers by going home for the holidays without approving a DACA fix. Still, she said, “we may be delayed, but we will not be derailed.”

Within the next two weeks, Republicans and Democrats need to negotiate a spending package to keep the U.S. government running, and this provides a crucial opportunity to pass the DREAM Act, Millona said. She warned of the risk that anti-immigrant forces could demand “poison pills” – such as radical cuts to legal immigration – that would thwart the process, but concluded, “we are optimistic.”

An overwhelming majority of Americans – 8 in 10, including two-thirds of Republicans – support a solution for Dreamers, Millona noted, and there are estimates that as many as 300 of the 435 members of the House of Representatives would support a bill if it came up for a vote.

“It's time for Congress to respond to the popular will and get this done – ASAP,” she said.

The Senator was equally forceful.

“We are here to say that we must pass the DREAM Act now,” he said. He also warned against trying to impose extreme demands, noting: “We will not trade our Dreamers for a border wall, period. These are real Americans with real futures that are more important than President Trump’s ineffective and mean-spirited fantasy of building a wall across our entire southern border.”

An estimated 122 Dreamers a day are losing their DACA status, which means they are losing jobs and being exposed to arrest and deportation. Email Congress now to demand a DREAM Act now, or use the Fwd.US tool to call Congress.