Things That Matter

Seven DREAMers Are At Risk For Deportation After Being Arrested And Are Refusing To Hand Over Their Names And Fingerprints

Seven DREAMers and an ally were arrested in Washington, D.C., on Friday after participating in a sit-in advocating for a clean DREAM Act. The activists are currently being held in police custody and have initiated a hunger strike they say will remain active until Democrats make space for a clean DREAM Act in the congressional spending budget.

The demonstration puts these activists in a race against a narrowing deadline.

The seven activists, who call themselves the #Dream7, were arrested at the D.C. offices of New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer and Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo. They were charged for occupying the building outside regular business hours, which is regarded as unlawful entry. The group had initiated a sit-in and demanded that the lawmakers pass a clean DREAM Act by the federal spending budget deadline of December 22nd.

Since their Friday arrest, the group has refused to provide their names and fingerprints.

They’ve withheld personal information from law enforcement in an effort to remain in jail and continue their protests until their demands (and the demands of thousands of others) have been met. The participating DREAMers have all put their status in this country on the line, and are now at risk of being detained and deported. In one video taken just before their arrest, one of the participants, named Belén Sisa, told viewers that every day they spend in jail puts them closer to an arrest by ICE and deportation.

Anticipating their arrest, the protesters prepared statements concerning the goals of their demonstration.

Cata is a 20-year-old immigrant living in Florida.

Fightforourdream.org

In her written statement, published on Fightforourdream.org, she explains the pains that she has been through after losing her DACA eligibility.

“I have to take matters into my own hands,” Cata wrote. “I lost DACA, I lost a portion of my childhood with my parents, I lost the burial of numerous loved ones, I am not willing to lose the resiliency that runs through my veins. As a community, we cannot be spectators of the attacks against us. We must take bold action and show up for each other,”

Belén Sisa is an Argentine activist living in Arizona.

Fightforourdream.org

Sisa, a student at Arizona State University, wrote that she took part in this sit-in to give voice to the undocumented and “for those whose future is in the midst of uncertainty.” “If I and seven others can risk it all for something much bigger than ourselves, so can our political leaders who say they support us.”

Barbara is a 25 year old teacher living in California.

Fightforourdream.org

“Before there was DACA I always wanted to work a nice job and have the opportunity to shine using my skills,” Barbara wrote. “Once I had DACA I was able to show my skills off and pay taxes and get holidays and weekends to spend with my family, the feeling was amazing.”

Erika Andiola is from Durango, Mexico, and came to the U.S. to flee from domestic violence.

Fightforourdream.org

Andiola, an activist and former aid to the Bernie Sanders 2016 election campaign, Erika called those at risk to exercise their “collective power.”

“I am risking arrest today because there are thousands of people who are losing hope, who feel attacked and this is the time for us to model courage and to stand together because that was the only way we were able to win DACA in the first place,” Erika writes in her statement.

Hector is a 26-year-old student at City University of New York from Colombia.

Fightforourdream.org

Having been activated into political action earlier this year after seeing the many protests that were sparked after the DACA repeal, Hector wrote about fighting for respect and protection for undocumented youth.

“Let’s uplift each other and create a democracy that values all that live in it,” he wrote.

In September, Donald Trump rescinded DACA, which simultaneously sealed off new applications for the program. The rescission also put renewal applicants whose permits were set to expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 under a six-month tight time crunch. #Dream7 has remained firm in their decision to stay on a hunger strike until Democrats include the clean DREAM Act in their budget.

The names of the DREAMers used in this story were initially provided by their social accounts and Fightforourdream.org. The full names of the other activists have yet to be formally released. At the time of this story’s publication, mitú reached out to representatives of #Dream7 but has yet to hear back. 


Read: Here’s How One Houston Panadería Was Saved Because Of A Teenager’s Tweet

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Alejandro Mayorkas Is The First Latino And Immigrant To Be Named Secretary Of The Department Of Homeland Security

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Alejandro Mayorkas Is The First Latino And Immigrant To Be Named Secretary Of The Department Of Homeland Security

Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and the first immigrant to lead the Department of Homeland Security. Mayorkas is Cuban-born and was one of the original architects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and immigrant to be confirmed as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Secretary Mayorkas is inheriting a Trump-era DHS and is immediately getting to work to rectify issues that the Biden administration has highlighted. Two of the most pressing issues are heading up a task force to reunite migrant families who were separated by the previous administration and reviewing the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

“Remain in Mexico” is a policy that the Trump administration created and enforced that sent migrants to Mexico to await their asylum cases. The policy has been criticized both by U.S. and international politicians as a humanitarian issue.

It isn’t Mayorkas’ first time working for DHS.

Sec. Mayorkas was the deputy secretary of DHS from December 2013 – October 2016 under President Barack Obama. During that time, Mayorkas was crucial in responding to the 2013 – 14 Ebola virus epidemic and 2015 – 16 Zika virus epidemic. Mayorkas is ready to come back to the department and to bring back what he sees are the department’s mission.

“DHS bears an extraordinary weight on behalf of the American people, the weight of grave challenges seen and unseen,” Sec. Mayorkas said in a statement. “It is the greatest privilege of my life to return to the Department to lead the men and women who dedicate their talent and energy to the safety and security of our nation. I will work every day to ensure that they have the tools they need to execute their missions with honor and integrity. The mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values. The United States is a welcoming and empathetic nation, one that finds strength in its diversity. I pledge to defend and secure our country without sacrificing these American values.”

Mayorkas is no stranger to working on America’s immigration system.

Mayorkas is one of the original architects of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which is at stake because of the previous administration. The Biden administration has made a promise to preserve DACA and to create a pathway to citizenship to the 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S.

President Biden has introduced legislation to reform the current immigration system. The legislation has a timeframe for all undocumented people in the U.S. to become citizens if they follow certains steps and meet certain criteria.

While Mayorkas got bipartisan support in the Senate confirmation, some Republicans did not like his work in immigration. Sen. Marco Rubio, a fellow Cuban, voted to opposed Mayorkas.

“Not only has Mayorkas pledged to undo the sensible protections put in place by the Trump Administration that ended the dangerous policy of catch and release, but his nomination is further evidence that the Biden Administration intends to pursue a radical immigration agenda,” Sen. Rubio said in a statement.

READ: President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

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President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

Things That Matter

President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

President Joe Biden promised that he would introduce legislation to create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people. The president has followed through with the promise and all eyes are on the government as millions wait to see what happens next.

President Joe Biden has been busy the first couple of weeks of his presidency.

President Biden is proposing a pathway to citizenship that millions of people in the U.S. have been asking for. There are around 11 million people who are undocumented in the U.S. The pathway to citizenship will take time, according to the legislation, but some people will have time shaved off of their pathway, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and farm workers who have worked throughout the pandemic.

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 is designed to change the immigration system that has created a backlog of immigration cases. There are multiple steps in the proposed legislation starting with creating a pathway to citizenship. Those who would benefit from the bill are people who are physically in the U.S. by January 2, 2021.

First, the bill allows for people to apply for temporary legal status. After five years, and if the person passes a criminal and national security background check, they can apply for a green card. Three years after that, people who pass further background checks and demonstrate a knowledge of English and civics can apply for citizenship.

A line in the bill aims to help people deported during the previous administration.

“The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may waive the presence requirement for those deported on or after January 20, 2017, who were physically present for at least three years prior to removal for family unity and other humanitarian purposes,” reads the proposed legislation.

The bill also wants to change the word “alien” to “noncitizen” in immigration laws to embrace the country’s stance as a country of immigrants.

The legislation has been introduced and now immigration activists are waiting to see it happen.

The legislation tackles several issues that have plagued the immigration system in the U.S. The bill proposes increasing visa limits for certain countries, keeping families together, removing discrimination against LGBTQ+ families, and so many other initiatives to start reforming the immigration system.

President Biden has been offering executive orders that are in the same vein as the bill. Many have aimed as fixing issues that were created by the previous administration and the president is not hiding from it.

“There’s a lot of talk, with good reason, about the number of executive orders I’ve signed. I’m not making new law. I’m eliminating bad policy,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office while signing executive orders. “What I’m doing is taking on the issues that, 99 percent of them, that the last president of the United States issued executive orders I thought were counterproductive to our national security, counterproductive to who we are as a country. Particularly in the area of immigration.”

The undocumented population peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million and has declined since then. There are at least 4.4 million people in the U.S. with at least one undocumented parent, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

READ: President Joe Biden Signs Executive Order To Preserve DACA

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