Commentary: Albuquerque, N.M. - Today, 30 fearless young immigrant leaders from the NM Dream Team are participating in a nationwide action to demand Congress pass a clean Dream Act by December.
Close to 1,000 undocumented immigrant youth took over the capital and filled the halls of Congress chanting clean Dream Act in a cry to demand congress to take action by December and to remind them they are powerful, strong, and here to stay.
Congress’ inaction for the last 16 years on a legislation to protect immigrant youth and their families has resulted in the separation, fear, and trauma of immigrant families. That’s why immigrant youth and their families are now telling Congress they’ve had enough and they can not wait any longer.
After the Trump administration rescinded DACA, which protected 800,000 youth from deportation, and now TPS protecting victims of humanitarian cases, the immigrant community is now fighting back and demanding Congress pass a clean Dream Act this December to protect their families as the administration launches an anti-immigrant white supremacist deportation machine.
Most NM Representatives and Senators have committed to fight for a clean Dream Act by December, except U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (NM - District 2) who has said supports a legislative solution for DREAMers but has yet to support a clean Dream Act.
Photos of today’s Natl’ Day of Action for a Clean #DreamActNow can be found here.
Yadira Ramirez Lezama, DACA recipient, a mother of three, and NM Dream Team Communications Fellow in Southern NM, said,
“I’m fighting for a clean Dream Act today because the protections and dignity I gained through DACA changed my life. People with DACA are not only doctors, attorneys, and engineers, but also parents, restaurant workers, small business owners, and more.
“I saw my community fight for our dignity and I knew I had to fight for me and my children too. I share this with everyone because when Trump killed the DACA program, my family re-lived the pain of once again feeling forced into the shadows. But I’m here to say that we have come too far, and we won’t stay silent. This is my home and I’m here to stay.
“I am one of millions of immigrants who is disappointed and angry with Washington politicians Immigrant youth and parents like me need a clean Dream Act that will give us permanent protection; a clean Dream Act that won’t fund surveillance towers, a border wall, or see ICE agents knocking on our doors.Today I demanding that Congress pass a clean Dream Act now.
“It is the right thing to do for millions of immigrant youth across the country. New Mexico is watching. My children are watching.”
Gabriela Hernandez, Southwest Organizer with United We Dream & Executive Director for the NM Dream Team, said:
“As the largest immigrant youth-led organization we have been through enough. We’ve seen this administration cowardly attack our community through deportations, terrorization, and scapegoating.
“The Trump administration has rescinded DACA, ended TPS for some and now is mounting a terror deportation machine and political environment that dehumanizes our immigrant community that makes this country so great. We have yet to see action from congress. We are not standing for this, our youth are fiercely fighting hard in DC to remind congress the must pass a clean Dream Act now!
“As an young queer undocumented woman of color I have lived in fear for my life and my family’s since I was a little girl simply because we made the great sacrifice to move to this country to have a better life. Today we say no more. Congress has had 16 years to pass a legislative solution, it is time they act now. We demand congress that they pass a clean Dream Act by this December. Today we are going to remind congress that we matter, that we are strong, and that we are Here to stay!
As the race to pass a clean Dream Act in Congress comes to a crunch, the NM Dream Team invite the general public to join the fight for immigrant youth and families by connecting with them by texting the work FIGHTBACK at 877-877. Or if you or a loved one is facing detention or a deportation proceeding, help can be found though the Dream Team’s ‘Deportation Defense Hotline’ at 1-844-363-1423 ext. 102
The New Mexico Dream Team is a statewide network committed to create power for multigenerational, undocumented, and mixed status families through trainings and leadership development. We work to engage our community and allies in becoming leaders using an intersectional, gender, and racial justice lens—to develop and implement an organizing and advocacy infrastructure for policy change fighting to dismantle systemic oppression.
United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful nonpartisan network made up of 55 affiliate organizations in 26 states. UWD organizes and advocates for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status. We seek to address the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth and believe that by empowering immigrant youth, we can advance the cause of the entire community—justice for all immigrants.