Last September, President Trump marked March 5th as the deadline for Congress to come up with a solution to protect “Dreamers” after the DACA phaseout.
Despite months of heated debate, Congress failed to agree on a solution.
Immigrants’ rights activists and Dreamers gathered around the DNC headquarters in Washington on Monday to show Democrats who they blame for failing to meet the deadline. Protestors carried signs and bullhorns and blocked DNC members from entering the building.
“If you won’t let us dream, we won’t let you sleep,” they chanted.
Earlier that day, hundreds of protestors marched from the American History Museum to the Capitol to demand that Congress pass legislation granting them citizenship. At least 80 people were arrested.
“I am here today to tell Democrats that they are not my allies and I will continue to fight and show that I will not collaborate with them until they do something for my community,” said one protestor.
Several US citizens who participated in the protests said they would cancel their membership in the Democratic Party over the issue.
President Trump repeatedly pushed for legislation that would have legalized millions of Dreamers in exchange for border wall funding and changes to immigration policy, but his demands were rejected by both parties for different reasons.
Democrats have largely blamed President Trump and the GOP for missing the deadline, with DNC Chairman Tom Perez calling Trump’s phaseout “cruel and reckless.”
Dreamers rightly blame both parties for the legislative impasse that could change their lives.
“The Democrats made the calculation to kick the can down the road and allow hundreds of thousands of us undocumented youth to live in uncertainty,” said former DACA recipient Maria Duarte. “We are anxious and we are scared of being torn away from their homes and our community.”
Demonstrators said they hoped Congress would pass a “clean” bill granting at least a portion of the Dreamers citizenship – without agreeing to Trump’s demands for increased border security.
Thanks to two federal judges who ruled against Trump’s effort to cancel DACA, Congress has a little more time to come up with a solution. This means DACA will be a HUGE issue in the upcoming midterm elections.
With former Democrats pledging to leave the party over the DACA issue, Republican candidates’ stance on immigration could earn them unexpected support.
Lorella Praeli, who oversees immigration policy for the ACLU, is running a massive ad campaign aimed to reach RNC staff, administration officials, and other influential Republicans.
In the meantime, information from Citizenship and Immigration Services suggests Dreamers could start losing their protected status as early as this week as a result of backlogs in processing applications and renewals.