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.

CREDIT: 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.

CREDIT: 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.

CREDIT: 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.

CREDIT: 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.

CREDIT: 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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Joe Biden Promises To Fight For Dreamers If Elected In November

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Joe Biden Promises To Fight For Dreamers If Elected In November

Biden For President / Flickr

An overwhelming majority of Americans support protecting Dreamers. Hundreds of thousands of young adults rely on the protection from deportation and work authorization to live with dignity and out of the shadows. Presidential nominee Joe Biden wants to make sure they stay protected.

Dreamers are looking to a Biden administration to finish what an Obama administration started.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

According to the official Biden campaign website, the presidential nominee will work with Congress to reinstate DACA protections and to create a pathway to citizenship. DACA was won by undocumented activists putting fear aside and publicly fought to change the minds of Americans and politicans.

“Undocumented ‘youth’ are no longer youth,” says Moises Serrano, DACA activist and the man profiled in the documentary “Forbidden.” “DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants have been living in fear and instability for decades now. We survived eight years under the Obama administration and four years under the Trump administration. Immigration reform was promised under the Obama-Biden platform; a promise that is still unfulfilled.”

He added: “We hope that President Biden puts an end to the instability in our lives once and for all, or we are ready to hold him accountable in the same way we held Obama accountable in our fight for Administrative Relief.”

Biden’s policy proposes protecting Dreamers and helping them advance in this country.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

Biden promises to reinstate DACA to protect Dreamers and will be looking into ways to protect their families. The policy put forth by a potential Biden administration is pivotal in giving those who are DACA recipients a chance to live without fear and with all of the rights as their fellow citizens.

“After living through a deep loss in 2016 after losing my second mother and only being granted access to be on her deathbed in Mexico through my ability to get advanced parole through DACA I learned that no loss would ever be greater than that,” said Cindy Nava, a DACA recipient, political operative and policy advocate. “However, November rolled around and another loss took place. One that impacted my life, that of my family and my community.”

DACA is a very important issue as hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are on the line.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

People like Nava are hopeful that a Biden administration will bring that dignity back to the immigrant community. It is a community that is vibrant and has contributed vastly to American culture. A BIden administration would be a chance for Nava to see herself reflected in government.

“I am hopeful to see the daughter of immigrants, a woman of color, and a woman I can finally feel represented by be sworn in as the first woman VP of this country,” Nava says. “I will look forward to an administration that listens to the communities it intends to represent. An administration that empowers the entire country to work with each other to support, strengthen, respect and uplift each other each and every day. An administration that values and is grateful for the contributions that immigrants bring to the foundation of our country each and every day.”

Nava wants to see an immigration reform that puts immigrant humanity at the forefront. One that understands the needs for people to seek refuge and a better life in a foreign country.

“No immigrant seeks to find a fix on a silver platter. Nor do they believe that this will be an easy task,” Nava says. “The only thing our families ask for is a chance. Una oportunidad para recordarle a este pais that their lucha and determination comes from a deep sense of ganas to create a life filled with more opportunities than they ever had.”

The battle over DACA is far from over but it is clear that the Trump administration is on the wrong side of public opinion. Biden’s plan would strengthen DACA and restore the program to its full functionality.

READ: Trump Administration Limit DACA Renewals, Blocks New Applications

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President Trump Falsely Claimed That Covid Is To Blame For Ending DACA

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President Trump Falsely Claimed That Covid Is To Blame For Ending DACA

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions held a press conference terminating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on behalf of the Trump administration. Since then hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients have lived in uncertainty. President Donald Trump tried to rewrite history at his town hall event Oct. 15.

President Donald Trump blamed the end of DACA on Covid during his town hall.

The truth is that President Trump’s administration attempted to end DACA in 2017. Former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions was the attorney general at the time and made the announcement in a press conference. Since then, the Trump administration has continued to advance a lawsuit to terminate the program. DACA allows for hundreds of thousands of adults to work and live in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

Long before Covid, the Trump administration was told to resume DACA as intended.

Instead, the Trump administration has violated federal orders and continued to restrict DACA and those who can apply. The Supreme Court refused to hear arguments against DACA meaning that the lower court’s ruling stood. The ruling was that the Trump administration had to reinstate the program in full. However, the Supreme Court did not dismiss the case allowing for the administration to come back.

President Trump also claimed that DACA recipients and Dreamers are not that same.

Another falsehood by the president at the town hall. DACA recipients are indeed Dreamers. The term Dreamers does apply to DACA recipients who would benefit from the DREAM Act. The legislation would legally enshrine the protections of DACA and was introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois in 2001. Over the course of 19 years, the piece of legislation has not moved despite the overwhelming support from the American public.

People watching the town hall were quick to call out President Trump.

People are not letting President Trump get away with trying to rewrite history about DACA. His administration is the one trying to strip DACA recipients of their protections. At one point, President Trump tried using DACA recipients as political pawns in an attempt to secure funding for his border wall.

Voters are calling on other voters to help protect the program in November.

The two nominees have very different DACA plans. President Trump has and will continue to try to take away the protections from DACA recipients. Former Vice President Joe Biden has a plan to offer citizenship to DACA recipients, something American voters support. DACA is a wildly popular program that gives some of the most vulnerable people in our society a chance to live a normal life.

READ: The Trump Administration Has Officially Rescinded DACA. Here’s What You Need To Know.

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