Activist Coalitions Fight for Justice for Dreamers

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As members of Congress worked to pass a spending bill that once again failed to include protection for undocumented DREAMers facing uncertainty as the March 5 expiration for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program looms, hundreds of people turned out in the bitter cold in the New York City’s North Bronx to demand a “clean” DREAM Act.

DREAMers, Jewish activists and City University of New York students, as well as members of the Yonkers Salvation Movement, the Bend the Arc Riverdale Taskforce, NW Bronx Indivisible, NYCD 16 Indivisible, the Yonkers Sanctuary Movement and more turned out in front of US Rep. Eliot Engel’s office to demand passage of a DREAM Act not tied to other provisions, like funding for Trump’s border wall.

Members of Bend the Arc have been campaigning for DACA in Congress, and many have been arrested for their actions. Speakers from the group reminded the crowd of the immigration quotas imposed on Jewish people fleeing from the Holocaust during the 1940s.

One woman spoke of her family, who got to the US — only for her grandparents to be barred from entering. Such stories are a reminder that discrimination against immigrants by the US government is not new.

The protesters are determined to fight Trump’s bigotry. Their signs said it all, including, “This is what Never Again means” and “Let my people stay!”

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“Our dreams can’t wait” was the theme of the many of the DREAMers who spoke, and several shared their experiences with the crowd.

Marisa Santiago explained that she has two children who are American citizens and faces the horror of her family being split up. “I am not a bargaining chip,” she declared, urging a clean DREAM Act.

Maria Guzman, from Lehman College, said her DACA status expires on August 19. She and other DREAM activists at the protest argued against bargaining with people’s lives. Others explained the difficulties they have had getting to college, not being able to drive legally or get a job and the difference that DACA has…

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