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UFW & UFW Foundation: Congress failed to protect the lives of undocumented youth once again

United Farm Workers President Arturo S. Rodriguez, who is also president of the UFW Foundation Executive Board, issued this statement following the end of the federal government shutdown:

Last week, Democrats stood up for Dreamers and voted in support of a Dream Act. Today, the farm worker movement is furious with Republicans who refuse to budge and disappointed with Democrats who backed down and voted for a temporary solution that leaves out undocumented youth. With each passing day, more than a hundred youth risk deportation. More than 17,000 have already lost their driving licenses, working permits and live in fear.

Young undocumented immigrants in the 21st district have tirelessly been active in urging their representative, David Valadao to act on behalf of his community. There are more than 40,000 individuals in the four counties he represents who are impacted by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  Valadao’s undocumented youth constituents received letters with his written promise of ‘doing everything in [his] power to ensure those who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own are not unjustly punished.’ Valadao, however, played political games and voted to punish the youth.

California is home to more than 200,000 DACA beneficiaries and would be home to more undocumented youth protected under the Dream Act. We applaud Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Harris for sticking to their promises and voting no on the continuing resolution.

We will continue to work alongside undocumented youth and the immigrant community that empowers and fuels us so that in the next three weeks, a Dream Act can be included in the spending bill. Certainly, there is no excuse for our Congress to not include this bipartisan solution that reflects the values of a majority of American voters in the spending bill.

The farm worker movement will continue to prioritize mobilizing until we win. We call on all representatives and allies to do more than give lip service to these values. The fight continues.