Veterans, Faith, Law Enforcement and Other Leaders Urge Legislation for Dreamers

Communications Assistant

January 10, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — While a court ruling Tuesday evening blocked President Trump’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and ordered the administration to accept DACA renewal applications, it in no way lessens the urgency with which Congress must act on a permanent legislative solution.

Because the court decision does not permit new DACA applications and is likely to be appealed by the Justice Department, permanent legislation remains the only way to ensure protection for Dreamers. Each day that passes without a solution fails hundreds of thousands of hardworking young people and the American workers in the communities to which they belong.

The following are quotes from veterans, faith, law enforcement and other leaders. To schedule an interview with any of the following, please contact Cathleen Farrell.

Capt. Victor Arana, USMC veteran, Austin, TX:
“The Dream Act, like Temporary Protected Status, is a woefully inadequate, temporary fix, to the undocumented immigration problem, particularly with those young men and women who have stepped up and served our country in the U.S. military. I encourage Congress to take a hard look at the sacrifice these kids have made for a country that technically isn’t even their own country of citizenship. Plus, what better way for youngsters to internalize our American values than with U.S. military service. Enact legislation that encourages these kids, who have grown up with us and are really our own kids, to sign up for the military, and reward them for their sacrifice. The time to act is now.”

Linda Chavez, Senior Fellow, Niskanen Center:
“Congress has a duty to the young people whose lives have been upended by the administration’s decision to terminate the DACA program to pass legislation that would fix this problem.  Notwithstanding a district court decision in CA that enjoins the administration from rescinding the program until some final adjudication on this issue by the courts, Congress must act and act now.”

Senior Pastor Chris Davis, Groveton Baptist Church, Alexandria, VA:
“Time is running out for the Dreamers. In good faith they stepped up to identify themselves and their desire to be part of our national life. They work, learn, and contribute to a better America. They did not choose to enter our country but they are choosing to be a meaningful part of it. Congress must act now help them achieve that dream.”

Dr David Galvan, New Life Baptist Church, Dallas, TX:
“President Trump says he supports a DACA fix.  The Republicans say they want a DACA fix. The Democrats demand a DACA fix. The country is politically divided 46%-46%, but a high percentage of all Americans want a DACA fix. To believe you get what you want (DACA) and it not cost you something in today’s environment is unrealistic. Both sides need to give something to get something. Don’t let this opportunity pass without seeing it through. Real lives and futures and dreams and a better America hang in the balance.”

Shirley Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
“While this court decision is an important development, it is not a permanent fix. Only Congress can pass the permanent, legislative solution that is so desperately needed to end the unimaginable uncertainty plaguing DACA recipients, their families, and communities. We urge Congress to pass a bipartisan solution without delay.” 

Raoul Lowery Contreras, USMC veteran, Vista, CA:
“Between statements made by President Trump on DACA during his immigration meeting and a federal judge’s ruling setting aside the announced end of DACA by the President is a middle ground that Congress can fix now, not months from now. The iron is hot, there is an opportunity to end the fear and confusion caused by the Trump Administration’s announced end. Speaker Paul Ryan and Leader Mitch McConnell must end the confusion.”

Pastor Tim Moore, Walk Worthy Baptist Church, Austin, TX:
“Politics is always about compromise. President Trump urged both parties to fix DACA and find a more global solution on immigration. He suggested the parties in the room weren’t that far apart.  If that’s crazy, maybe we need more of it.  But as crazy as it sounds we need to fix DACA as soon as possible. After that we need the courage to finish a fix on a badly broken immigration system.  Congress…be of good courage! Toleration of one another is not enough. We must come together and actually celebrate diversity.”

Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, President, Miami Dade College:
“Our Dreamers are an integral part of our nation’s success, and among our society’s best and brightest individuals. A legislative solution is in all Americans’ best interest, and the right thing to do on behalf of this new generation of leaders. Congress should pass legislation now.”

Pastor Clint Pressley, Hickory Grove Baptist Church, Charlotte, NC:
“From my perspective as a pastor here at Hickory Grove in Charlotte with a community that is filled with guys like Jose and Dreamers that are seeking to invest their lives not just in the church but in the community, it makes perfect sense, not just for Jose but for me, to have a legislative solution for Dreamers so we can have them as a part of not just our community, but as a part of the United States of America.”

Mark Prosser, Public Safety Director and Police Chief, Storm Lake, IA:
“The DACA Program has proven to be a success in Northwest Iowa, specifically in Storm Lake, IA where a large amount of our children and young adults entered the program and have continued on a road of success and positive impact for our community. DACA should be retained and enhanced.  Our immigration system should be reformed and those who call our communities home and continue to live in the shadows should be invited out of the dark and into fully invested community members.”

Danny Vargas, USAF veteran, Herndon, VA:
“We are stronger as country because of immigrants and we have an opportunity today to act on behalf of group of young people who know nothing other than the United States of America as their home. I think it is proper that we support our Congressional Members to pass a permanent legislative solution for DACA so we can welcome them with open arms as part of our American family.”

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