Photo Courtesy of Sen. Gillibrand’s Office
Sen. Gillibrand said Congress “must take action to protect” DREAMers.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Two New York elected officials on Sunday urged Republican leaders to include a measure in a long-term spending bill that reverses President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) stood with Rep. Adriano Espaillat, DREAMers, advocates, and community leaders in Gillibrand’s Manhattan office to announce that she will vote against any long-term spending deal that fails to protect Dreamers.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DACA is a policy developed during the Obama administration that allows certain people who came to the United States as children, and meet several guidelines, to request consideration of deferred action from deportation for two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer deportation for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status, USCIS noted.
In September, the Trump administration initiated the orderly phase out of the program.
“DREAMers are Americans who know no other country as home besides the United States, and Congress must take action to protect them,” Gillibrand said. “In the coming days, Senate Republicans are going to have to pass a spending bill or the government will shut down on their watch. If Republicans refuse to do the right thing and protect DREAMers in this must-pass bill, then I’m going to vote against the bill. We can never allow our DREAMers to be used as political pawns, and I will urge my Senate colleagues to join me in opposing this legislation if protections for Dreamers aren’t part of the deal.”
Gillibrand noted on Sunday that she supports two pieces of bipartisan legislation that would protect Dreamers, the BRIDGE Act and the DREAM Act. The BRIDGE Act would codify the DACA program, and the DREAM Act would create a pathway to citizenship for individuals who came to the U.S. under the age of 18.
“It is critical that we work to pass a clean DREAM Act in an effort to protect DREAMers,” Espaillat added. “These young people have lived in the United States for 10 years or more and are productive and contributing members of our society, raising families, serving in our military, and bettering our communities. I take this fight very seriously and personally because I know how it feels and what it means to be young and undocumented in America. I vow to continue my work in Congress to ensuring these young people have an opportunity to succeed in the only country they have ever called home.”