Education

Hundreds Of Students Staged Walkouts To Urge Congress To Protect DREAMers

by Tod Perry

November 9, 2017

One of the most callous moves by the Trump administration has been President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind former President Barack Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Now, around 800,000 young adults, known as DREAMers, who are American-raised, American-educated, and American in every sense of the word, may face deportation if action is not taken before March 5, 2018.

Upon rescinding DACA, Trump called for Congress to enact a fix, but so far, it has failed to take substantive action. So on Nov. 9, hundreds of students staged walkouts and rallied at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., to urge Congress to protect DREAMers.

“It’s been a year and what has [Trump] done?” Bruna Distinto, a senior at Trinity Washington University and a DREAMer, told NBC. “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,” she said.

The students are calling for Congress to pass a “clean” DREAM Act that would include a pathway to citizenship with permanent protection without dangerous enforcement add-ons. “I’m here to stay; we’re not going anywhere; this is my home,” said Distinto, who was brought to the U.S. from Bolivia at the age of 6. “I really don’t remember much about Bolivia; I’m not going anywhere.”

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) is introducing a bill known as the Border Security and Deferred Action Recipient Relief Act that would beef up border security while offering permanent for protections for DACA recipients. On the other side of the aisle, 25 House Democrats have threatened to vote against the upcoming spending bill unless Congress passes the DREAM Act. Failure to pass the spending bill would result in a government shutdown. 

Share image by Molly Adams/Flickr.

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