Immigrant Youth Reignite Momentum for Dream Act as Hundreds Rally and Many Arrested at Republican Senate Offices

Jan 16, 2018
7:08 PM

Editor’s Note: Latino Rebels received the following Tuesday media release from United We Dream and is publishing here in its entirety.

Actions also happened in other parts of the country, like this one in New Mexico.

Washington, DC – Today, the US Department of Justice, led by avowed white supremacist Jeff Sessions, appealed the 9th circuit court decision on DACA to preserve his right to hunt down immigrant youth and deport them.

The decision erases any doubt that Congress must pass the Dream Act and immigrant youth reignited the momentum for the bill’s passage by putting their bodies on the line to insist that Republicans stop blocking the bill and deliver it by January 19th. The choice Republicans must make is whether they will follow the path or racism and hate or whether they will pass the Dream Act.

See links and United We Dream on Twitter and Facebook for video and photos of immigrant youth as they rallied and were arrested at the offices of Senators Cornyn, Purdue, Cotton, McConnell and Grassley as those Senators —called Dream Killers by the young leaders— are actively undermining progress on the Dream Act. The young people engaged in protests at the offices of 15 other Republican Senators who must decide which side of history they will be on: the side of racism of the side of the bipartisan Dream Act. Among those Senators who were visited by the young people were Senators Tillis, Lankford, Hatch, Heller, Rubio, Corker, Alexander, McCain, Sullivan, Scott, Portman, Hoeven, Toomey, Sasse and Capito.

Tania Hernandez-Nero, a teacher who would qualify for the Dream Act, and who is now protected by the DACA program, traveled 30 hours in a bus to Washington from her home in Houston and said, “I teach the future of America yet my future is in danger. Congress has to pass the Dream Act by January 19th!”

Arlin Tellez Martinez, who traveled from Charlotte, NC, to share her story at the office of Senator Thom Tillis said: “With the termination of DACA I felt scared and stuck. I became friends with Arely, a TPS recipient, and together we have come time and time again to the Capitol to fight for our families and fight for permanent protection. I am calling on Senator Tillis to stand up for young people who have been terrorized by Trump—we need you to choose if you will side with racists or protect immigrant youth with a Dream Act.”

Thelma Manzano traveled from Austin, TX, to share her truth to Senator Cornyn who is working to undermine negotiations on the Dream Act. She said: “I’m here to be a light for those who feel that they must live in the shadows. My DACA expires in June which means that in less than 6 months, the agents can get me. And I know that many of my friends have DACA protections that have already expired or who have no chance of protection from deportation other than the Dream Act. DACA has made it possible for me to work with my community in Austin, and provide for my family. Our status does not define us, and it’s time for a permanent solution. John Cornyn and Congress has a choice to make with their vote this week: side with undocumented youth or side with racists.”

Nicole Romero drove to DC from New Jersey to speak truth to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. At McConnell’s office she said: “We need the Dream Act because we’re humans, and just because we’re undocumented doesn’t mean we don’t deserve justice and freedom. We had the courage to go to Senator McConnell’s office to share our stories and tell him why it’s so important for our community, and for our country, to pass the Dream Act but he didn’t have the courage to face us.”

Rodrigo Trejo would qualify for the Dream Act and shared the tragic story of his father who was deported because of a broken tail light. He said: “I’m here today to honor my father who was stopped, detained and deported over a broken tail light. I am broken hearted that he died before I was ever able to see him again. I am all my family has, and I am relying on the Dream Act to allow me to provide security for my family. This is why we fight: because our lives depend on it, and Senator Tillis should know that we do not back down–we will fight until we win.”

Mo Rodriguez would qualify for the Dream Act and spoke out at the office of Senator Lamar Alexander. He said: “Senator Alexander needs to step up as a real leader and public servant. As one of the Senator’s constituents, I want to know when he plans to come out and give us two minutes of his time. I had to drop everything for a week to have my voice heard. We are tired of empty words—we need action.”

Luis Diaz, who would qualify for the Dream Act, traveled to DC from New Britain, CT, and shared the toll that deportations can have on young people. He said: “Since meeting a Marine as a little kid, I dreamed of becoming a Marine one day. In school, I was that perfect “Dreamer”, always on the honor roll and studying hard. But then my dad got deported. He wasn’t there anymore to tell me, “good job” for getting honor roll. My GPA dropped to 1.8 but I was still able to graduate high school. I came to tell Senator Hoeven that I still have that dream of becoming a Marine one day, but I can’t unless the Dream Act passes.”

Zeltzyn Sanchez, who is from New York and would qualify for the Dream Act, said: “I need the Dream Act so that I can work, so I can go to school, and so I can be treated like a normal person. We’re ingenious, we came to this country, grew up here, yet we are treated without the dignity and equality we deserve.”