With DACA’s Expiration Date Looming, the Fight For a “Clean” Dream Act is On

By Jose Servin

Every day, more Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients are losing their protected status. By the time the set Mar. 5 deadline for lawmakers to pass some sort of relief comes, about 22,000 immigrants will lose protections from deportation. The last ditch hope before that is one of four versions of the Dream Act being passed around Congress to be attached to the congressional spending budget that has been delayed until Dec. 22 by the president.

In other words, the fate of 800,000 people depends on the ability of Democrats in Congress to do their job.

The pressure is on and in the past week, thousands have rallied outside of the capitol urging lawmakers to provide protections for us. Seven DACA recipients that were arrested on Friday will sit in jail without revealing their names and risk possible deportation until Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer agrees to halt the spending bill if no immigration reform is attached to it. In California, groups like Orange County Immigrant Youth United have been lobbying politicians from both parties, even hardliners like State Senator John Moorlach (who keeps a MAGA hat on display at his Sacramento office) and the ever-illusive Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

In the media, it appears that Democrats are prepared to do what it takes. Politicians like Senator Kamala Harris have spoken at rallies in D.C. Some, like Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), have gone as far as being arrested for civil disobedience. But organizers believe that Democrats are hoping to play the long game. The easy solution for them is to publicly push for immigration reform, but in reality allow for a spending bill without it under the pretext that the demands of immigrant organizers, who are calling for a “clean” Dream Act without increased enforcement or money for the border, are non-negotiable with Republicans.

We cannot allow the Democrats to believe that this strategy is wise. We must demonstrate that immigrant rights organizers have learned from the shortfalls of DACA when it was first passed, and that we won’t allow for the arrests and potential deportations of those of use brave enough to get arrested to go in vain. The Dream Act itself is already a concession where the rest of the 11 million undocumented folks in the U.S remain at the mercy of the Trump Administration’s deportation machine. If no form of Dream Act is attached to the Dec. 22 spending bill, it will not be a failure of one party or the other. It will be a failure of humanity among lawmakers who have proven themselves unworthy of taking on the xenophobe who sits in the Oval Office.

We urge those of you who are able to join us as we pressure local politicians to take action in Los Angeles as a part of a statewide “No Dream, No Deal” day of action for a clean Dream Act this Wednesday!

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