ACLU and United We Dream Activists Flyer Capitol Hill Staff and Members Today

Photos and Stories of Immigrant Youth Dragged to Detention Camps Highlight Need to Pass Dream Act

December 19, 2017 12:45 pm

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WASHINGTON — To underscore the urgency of the need for action for Dreamers, dozens of United We Dream and ACLU People Power activists are passing out flyers today featuring the stories and photos of young people at the entrance of every Congressional building. This action is part of an ongoing campaign in which United We Dream has brought more than 1,500 activists to Washington for protests and other actions, and ACLU People Power volunteers have sent more than 4,000 text messages to activists in key congressional districts urging their representatives to support a Dream Act.

As Congress seeks to wrap up its last week of work in 2017, Congress has still not passed the Dream Act to protect immigrant youth. To date, more than 12,000 immigrant youth have lost their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protections since President Trump ended the program back in September. An additional 850 lose their status with each week that a Dream Act is not passed.

Among the young people whose photos and stories are featured on the flyers are Dreamers like Osman Enriquez, who lost his DACA status in October after delays at the post office caused his renewal application to arrive late. He was pulled over by police in Pennsylvania and placed in immigration detention, separating him from his 1-year-old son, who is a U.S. citizen. While Osman was released after a public outcry, he has mandatory check-ins with ICE, and without DACA status, remains at risk of deportation.

Other young immigrants have had their DACA applications denied or revoked without cause. Claudia Rueda is a student and activist in California who, after being detained by Customs and Border Protection, had her DACA application denied despite meeting all eligibility criteria. Dreamers Jessica Colotl and Jesús Arreola have also had their DACA status improperly revoked. Some young immigrants who would qualify for protections under the Dream Act, including 10-year-old Rosa Maria Hernandez, have been detained by the Trump administration in recent months. This is despite President Trump’s promise that Dreamers would have “nothing to worry about.”

“No young immigrant should have to spend the holidays wondering if they will have to leave the country they call home,” said Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy and campaigns at the American Civil Liberties Union. “Members of Congress are on notice: a vote for a long-term spending bill without a legislative fix for Dreamers is vote to deport Dreamers. Immigrant youth like my sister should not have to spend the holidays wondering if they will be deported from their country.”

Adrian Reyna, membership director for United We Dream and potential beneficiary of the Dream Act said, “We are bringing the faces of immigrant young like me who have been dragged to detention camps or deported. All of us would qualify for the Dream Act. As members of Congress and their staff decide whether they will protect immigrant youth or deport us, we want them to remember our faces. 1,500 immigrant young people have traveled to Washington to put our bodies on the line in a fight for our right to exist in this country. We need the Dream Act now and we expect congress to deliver.”

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