More Than Two Dozen House Democrats Tell Speaker Ryan They are Set to Throw Down for Dreamers

by Gabe Ortiz –

This is what leadership looks like. More than two dozen House Democrats say they are prepared to thrown down for Dreamers who face being torn from the only country they’ve ever known as home, telling Speaker Paul Ryan in an op-ed to either pass a clean DREAM Act free of poison pills, or risk losing their support for the end-of-year spending bill. Democrats appear to have the upper hand here. As Politico noted last week,“Republicans will need Democratic votes—definitely in the Senate and almost certainly in the House, too—to pass legislation to keep the government funded.” In their op-ed, the House members say they are prepared to use that hand to protect undocumented immigrant youth:

Nobody except for a small extreme faction in the Republican Party thinks deporting DREAMers is a good idea. Every poll indicates that the American people favor legal status for these young immigrants by a 4-to-1 margin. The overwhelming support crosses party, class, geographic and racial lines.

Yet, Speaker Ryan and other Republicans have insisted that measures to escalate border security and deportations must be coupled with legislation to legalize the status of DREAMers, even though the issues of border security and deportations have nothing to do with the legal status of DREAMers.

We are confident that if the Speaker allowed a vote tomorrow on the DREAM Act as it stands, without poison pill amendments, the majority in the House of Representatives would support it by a comfortable margin.

So call a vote, Mr. Speaker, or deal with a clear choice: work with Democrats on a proposal with broader appeal – that includes a clean DREAM Act – or opt for a hardline Republican-only budget that excludes the DREAM Act and forgo Democratic votes.  

The choice is for the Speaker to make.

In the Senate, California’s Kamala Harris was the first to say that she would not support an end-of-year spending bill without a clean DREAM Act, with Massachusetts’s Elizabeth Warren, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, and New Jersey’s Cory Booker quickly following suit. “We believe that Speaker Ryan is proficient enough at math,” the op-ed continues, “to understand that the path forward requires giving members of Congress the opportunity to pass the DREAM Act without harsh amendments that would diminish both the spirit of the bill and support for it.”

They get what’s at stake. DACA recipients are already losing their work permits and protection from deportation, and if Congress is unable to pass a clean DREAM Act, 1,400 DACA recipients will begin losing their status every single day. Children will lose breadwinners, colleges and universities will lose students, businesses will lose valued employees, and communities will lose families. Immigrant youth leader and United We Dream cofounder Cristina Jiménez says:

“We cannot have people be spectators anymore, not during a time when our communities and way of life are under attack,” she said. “If you’re a person of conscience, if you’re an undocumented youth yourself, or know someone who is, take to the streets to demand Congress pass a clean Dream Act. There is a real urgency to pass the Dream Act by December. Immigrant youth can’t afford to wait any longer. Each day that passes in one more immigrant youth that loses their DACA protections, and it’s one more day where their livelihood is threatened and they become prey for Trump’s mass deportation agents.”

“We need immigrant youth, we need our allies and all people of conscience to reject the idea that we must hurt and risk the lives of the rest of the immigrant community in order to protect immigrant youth. In Washington D.C. and across the country, we will be hosting Operation Dream Act Now on November 9. Text ‘Dream Act Now’ to 877-877 to get updates on the action and learn how you can join.”

A full list of the op-ed’s House authors is here. For all those in Congress who have said they stand with Dreamers, now is the time to show it. The fact is that DACA’s termination is a Donald Trump-created mess, and it’s up to Congress to step up to fix it, and now. Click here to find out how to participate in the Operation Dream Act Now day of action, and to find out if your member of Congress supports a clean DREAM Act.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos