Aug. 16, 2017
Immigrant Youth Keeping Momentum Going with 22-Day DREAM Action at White House to Protect DACA & TPS
With Just 3 Weeks Left Until Trump's Deadline to Rescind DACA, Round-the-Clock Vigil Aims to Save Program Protecting 800,000 Young People from Deportation
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Tuesday, over 2,000 immigrant youth and allies from across the country marched and rallied outside of the White House to demand the Trump administration defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs. Now, NAKASEC, community leaders, faith leaders, and allied organizations will keep the momentum going with the DREAM Action: Our Youth, Our Future vigil for the next 21 days. The round-the-clock presence will continue until September 5th, the deadline given to the Trump administration from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine attorneys general from other states to end DACA. Supporters from diverse walks of life will unite in front of the White House, for 24 hours a day, to demonstrate to the President, his administration, and Congress that there is wide support for DACA recipients, TPS holders, and the DREAM Act.
With so much dividing our nation, maintaining DACA and TPS is an opportunity for the administration to send a clear and powerful message that this is still a country where people of every race, creed, and color are welcome, and that we will not be defined by the hatred and bigotry of a few.
The DREAM Action is a reflection of love for our families, friends, and community members, unlike the racist hatred and violence that rocked Charlottesville and disgusted the nation. DACA provides eligible immigrant young people the chance to live, study, and work without fear of deportation. This program benefits nearly 800,000 young people who are pursuing their dreams and contributing to the future and stability of our country. Similarly,TPS has given opportunities to over 300,000 immigrants from countries around the world that have suffered from catastrophe. Finally, the DREAM Act is much needed legislation that would create a pathway to citizenship to eligible young people.
At the first day of the DREAM Action, Jung Woo, NAKASEC Co-Lead of the event, said, "I am organizing this because I am DACAmented and I am a fighter! DACA has changed my life for the better and could potentially change the lives of over 100,000 eligible folks in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Our message is loud and clear: the President and Congress must do whatever it takes to protect DACA, TPS, and pass the DREAM Act."
"Our Catholic faith and Franciscan spirituality teach us to stand with and welcome the stranger. We are blessed and honored to stand with our sisters and brothers from United We Dream, NAKASEC, FIRM and all of God's children threatened by the expiration of TPS and DACA. We urge our leaders to remember that the Earth and all that it holds are God's and we are all immigrants in God's land. We will not be bystanders while families are torn apart," said Patrick Carolan, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network
"Fear breeds hate and hate divides peoples, communities, nations. Mr. President, do not be afraid; do not divide. Our country is great in part because it was uniquely founded on aspirations of equality and opportunity and freedom. But many of this generation's DREAMers are in threat of deportation because they lack a piece of paper. On the fifth anniversary of DACA, Mr. President, you have the power to set these young people free so that they may add to the greatness of this nation. Somehow we have forgotten that immigrants are people who may have needs but they also have gifts to offer," said Larry Couch, Director of the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.
"As a matter of faith and conscience, CWS is fully supportive of this twenty-four hour presence in front of the White House to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that has successfully protected undocumented youth from deportation. These talented young people are part of our communities and our congregations, and we urge this administration to protect DACA and also to keep the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) program intact. At a time when countries that have been designated with TPS are facing extreme violence and still recovering from natural disasters, we cannot deport people back into harm's way," said Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO of Church World Service.
"Now more than ever we must bring our community together and speak out against racism and bigotry on all fronts. We will not be silenced by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and extremist Republicans that seek to divide us by promoting policies of hate and exclusion. President Trump and extremist Republicans have unleashed an unprecedented attack against working moms, dads, and young people who have made America their home and contributed so much to our economy and communities. They are our neighbors, our friends, co-workers, and our family. Over a million lives are at stake. We must do everything in our power to preserve the DACA program and TPS," said Rocio Sáenz, SEIU International Executive Vice President and iAmerica Action President.
"Immigrants are part of the fabric of our communities and make our country stronger," said John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. "We are honored to partner with NAKASEC in this action of strength and solidarity with our DACA youth and our immigrant communities. We are heartened that people are rising up in support of DACA recipients. We call on the administration to commit to continuing and defending the DACA program and the TPS programs. Ending these programs would be cruel and heartless."
Rev. William Lamar, pastor, Metropolitan AME Church said "Langston Hughes asked a question, 'What happens to a dream deferred? Today, we are taking that question mark and we are straightening it into an exclamation point and we are declaring 'Our dream will not be deferred!' We refuse to let the 800,000 dreamers who live, work, study, and pay taxes in this nation be exploited and treated as political fodder for leaders who lack the courage to legislate justly and equitably. We must allow a path to citizenship for Dreamers who contribute to our communities, our well-being, and our economy"
"'If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor' said Desmond Tutu. History has proven this to be true and we know it. Therefore, UndocuBlack Network joins other directly affected organizations and allies for this DREAM Action to protect DACA and TPS because, it is our duty to ourselves. The undocumented story, the possibility to dream transcends background and circumstance. The right to be safe from extreme hardships, and political turmoil, is not contingent upon origin. Preserving Temporary Protected Status and DACA goes beyond the economic value to this country. It is about the dignity and humanity of (im)migrants including those from Sudan, South Sudan, Haiti, Somalia and the entire Black diaspora," said Patrice Lawrence, Policy & Advocacy Coordinator, Leader in the UndocuBlack Network.
"This DREAM Action to demand the White House to protect DACA and TPS started out as an idea from our impacted Asian American young people. DACA gives youth the opportunity to work and study, but also, it gives gives them a future to imagine and allows them to live in dignity. It is up to us to support our youth to empower themselves and our future," said Inhe Choi, Executive Director of Hana Center.
Sponsoring Organizations: NAKASEC, Korean Resource Center, HANA Center, Church World Service, Disciples Refugee and Immigration Ministries, Faith in Public Life, Franciscan Action Network, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, UndocuBlack Network, United We Dream, Viet Rainbow of Orange County (VROC)
Endorsing Organizations: Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights & Empowerment (AFIRE), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Apna Ghar, Inc. (Our Home), Arab American Action Network (AAAN), Asian American & Arab American Collaboration for Deferred Action, Asian American Psychological Association, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, Asian Americans United, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), Center For Community Change/FIRM, Chicago Desi Youth Rising, Chinese American Service League, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Chinese Progressive Association, Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), Japanese American Citizens League, Korean American Coalition of Oregon, Laotian American National Conference, Lowcountry Immigration Coalition, MinKwon Center for Community Action, National CAPACD, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), Pax ChristiUSA, Progress Virginia Education Fund, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - Institute Justice Team, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), Unitarian Universalist Association, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice, Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO), Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, We Belong Together