In latest federal spending bill, Congress must protect immigrants

In latest federal spending bill, Congress must protect immigrants


Originally published by The Hill

President TrumpDONALD JOHN TRUMPKoch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against HeitkampAnti-abortion Dem wins primary fightLipinski holds slim lead in tough Illinois primary fightMORE has declared immigrants like me enemies of the state, even though the majority of Americans believe we should be citizens.

Trump has made it clear he doesn’t want to advance real solutions for the millions of undocumented people who live, work, and pursue their dreams in this country; instead, he wants mass deportation.

Here is the proof: Trump has ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for people from several countries, creating more undocumented people for his deportation agents to hunt down.

He also has killed three bipartisan congressional proposals to fix the current immigration crisis, while also blocking the bipartisan Dream Act.

This week, congressional Republicans are once again showing their allegiance to Trump and his mass deportation agenda. In the latest federal spending bill, they want to add billions for more deportation agents and detention camps.

At the same time, some Democratic leaders appear willing to vote for a spending bill that does not include the Dream Act, and would also give Trump his deportation agents, so that they can get cash for other priorities.

Our message to all members of Congress – Republicans and Democrats – is that they must oppose any spending deal that includes additional funding for the deportation and detention of immigrants.

We’re tired of hearing politicians say that they stand with immigrants, while enabling Trump’s deportation agents to terrorize our communities.

Congress must protect immigrant youth and pass the Dream Act. They’ve had multiple opportunities to do it this year, and the latest omnibus spending bill this week is another one.

The Dream Act is bipartisan legislation to give immigrant youth a path to citizenship without deporting or detaining our families. Most Americans across the political spectrum support it, because immigrant youth and our allies transformed the debate, and won hearts and minds.

Getting the Dream Act done and increasing protections for immigrants is crucial because the deportation agents are increasingly emboldened to not only to come after us, but to deceive the public and lie about their work.

No member of Congress will be let off the hook, especially Democrats who claim to support immigrant youth and the Dream Act, but still consider voting for spending bills that will pay for more agents to pick up our mothers and fathers, and our friends like Rosa Maria, who was detained outside of her hospital room by CBP agents, or Jairo, a DACA recipient who was detained by ICE after they collaborated with his local police office.

There will be political consequences for these elected officials. The progressive base is watching and clamoring for pro-immigrant candidates to step up for mid-term elections this year.

Since day one of the Trump administration, thousands of young people have come to Washington to fight for the Dream Act and against the hateful and divisive priorities of this White House. We have staged walkouts, we have taken over congressional offices, we have blocked streets, we have slept on floors, we have driven all day and all night to protect each other.

We have responded to Trump’s hate with our joyful rebellion, because we know that we are the future of this country. We are taking the reins to build a history that we can all be proud of.

Now, Congress must follow our lead or be left in the dust.

Greisa Martinez Rosas is a DACA recipient and the Deputy Executive Director of United We Dream, the largest network of undocumented immigrant youth in the United States.

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