Washington, DC – Today, Members of Congress are expected to vote on a proposal by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to end the Trump Shutdown without any resolution of key issue priorities. Leaders from a wide range of progressive organizations held a press call today.
Below are the prepared remarks of Greisa Martinez Rosas, Advocacy Director of United We Dream:
My name is Greisa Martinez Rosas – I am the advocacy director for United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth network in the country.
I am also one of the millions of young people who are in grave danger if Congress does not deliver a breakthrough solution on the Dream Act, health care for kids and relief for our fellow americans in Puerto Rico.
At stake is my future and the future of millions of young people who grew up in the United States as well as the moral center of this country.
Will Members of Congress – from both parties – allow Trump and his extremist staff like Stephen Miller to twist our politics for their sick agenda of hate and mass deportations?
Today, Members of Congress must stand strong and prove to the world that enough is enough.
In the news are reports that Republican leaders are pushing a plan to end their shutdown with a promise to bring up the Dream Act at some later date.
To anyone considering such a move let me say this: Promises won’t protect anyone from deportation because delay means deportations for us.
We need Congress to deliver a breakthrough on the Dream Act to protect immigrant youth now.
Since Trump killed DACA – 17,000 of us have lost protection from deportation and 850 more are losing it each week.
Children are being picked up by agents and young people are being detained who would qualify for the Dream Act.
We are not interested in scoring political points we are fighting to save lives.
Since Trump killed DACA, he has said that immigrant youth will be glad with his decision and that the country needed a bill of love. He encouraged bipartisan progress and then blew it up with his raw racism and inability to close a deal.
Speaker Paul Ryan has looked United We Dream member Angelica Villalobos in the eye and told her that she would be safe.
Mitch McConnell has spoken on the floor of the US Senate about how we have all the time in the world.
Throughout the last several weeks it has become clear that none of those statements from Republican leaders are true.
Each of these men has bowed down to Stephen Miller and the extremists in Congress who have worked year after year to stop any and all progress on immigration through delays and demagoguery.
So no, immigrant youth cannot trust that a promise for a bill sometime in the future will protect us.
Promises will not protect us from the detention camps, promises won’t protect us from the agents.
Rosa Maria is a 10 year old girl who was taken to a detention camp by agents and would qualify for the Dream Act. Luis, Miguel and others are in detention camps right now even though they grew up here and would qualify for the Dream Act.
Since Trump killed DACA, immigrant youth have put our bodies on the line to fight for a breakthrough on the Dream Act.
United We Dream has mobilized thousands of people to Washington, we’ve been in Congress every day because our lives are on the line.
We have been joined by people of conscience of all backgrounds because the stakes are high for all of us.
United We Dream members are on Capitol Hill today like we have been every day in our orange shirts and hats fighting for justice.
We are fighting for a real solution which would protect immigrant youth who came to the US as minors and create a pathway to citizenship.
This solution is supported by the vast majority of Americans and it makes sense.
Congress should include the Dream Act into the negotiations happening now.
And the safety of immigrant youth, children’s healthcare, disaster relief and other priorities should not be used as bargaining chips against each other. Those kinds of political games are sick and cruel.
Promises won’t save anyone’s life.
Congress can and must deliver on the Dream Act now. We believe that we will win.
United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 400,000 members and 48 affiliate organizations across 26 states. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States. You can find more about UWD online at www.unitedwedream.org.