Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

Members of Congress Fail to Hold the Line for Immigrant Youth

After showing moral courage last Friday many members of Congress lost their nerve and failed to protect immigrant youth, whose families and futures depend on the Dream Act.

Media contacts:
Jan Dragin, Dragin Communications, 24/7, (339) 236-0679
Shayna Lewis, UUSC, (617) 301-4333

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C./CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — January 22, 2018 — The human rights organization Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) says that the U.S. Senate leveraged a vague, indefinite promise of a future floor debate on Dreamers legislation, to push through a Senate agreement for another stopgap funding measure. The measure, subsequently passed by the House of Representatives, is now in President Donald Trump’s hands for signature [as of 8:30 P.M. EST].

“After showing moral courage last Friday by insisting the government make good on its promises to Dreamers, many members of Congress completely lost their nerve today and failed to hold the line for immigrant youth, whose families and futures depend on passage of the Dream Act,” said UUSC Vice President and Chief Program Officer Rachel Gore Freed.

“With this latest side-step, Congress has now left the door wide open to more deportations, more people losing DACA status, and future compromise immigration deals that will trade progress on some fundamental immigrant rights issues for dramatic setbacks on others.

“Today’s move is not nearly enough to address the concerns of Dreamers who are living in a state of daily emergency and insecurity. We applaud the few Members of Congress who held out against this proposal and demanded more than empty promises in exchange for their votes.

“Leveraging the federal spending bill in Congress remains critical in terms of securing the policies that these Dreamers and allies need to protect their human rights,” said Freed. Currently nine out of ten Americans support DACA and the Dreamers.

“This shutdown was itself a needless crisis caused by Trump’s decision to phase out DACA back in September and congressional leadership’s failure to pass a clean Dream Act since then,” said Freed. “By blinking with the vote today, many Members of Congress ceded crucial ground that we will need if we will ever have a hope of passing a clean Dream Act,” Freed added.

“Without this leverage, far-right xenophobic politicians will be all the more positioned to either ignore the crisis caused by the end of DACA or to wring border enforcement dollars, diversity visa restrictions, or other anti-immigrant concessions out of future negotiations,” said Freed.

Freed, a human rights attorney, said UUSC’s Arizona-based partner No More Deaths released new footage and data this week showing Border Patrol agents willfully destroying humanitarian supplies left for migrants in the desert.

“This is what new border security funding looks like. This is why we need a clean Dream Act, and nothing short of it.”

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