San Diego Dreamers Head to Washington to Push for Passage of the Dream Act

Local activists will join other DACA recipients to appeal to Congress for immediate action.

SAN DIEGO — Nine Dreamers from San Diego went to Washington, D.C. on Monday to  join with other DACA recipients from across the country to urge House and Senate lawmakers to pass a clean Dream Act before the end of the year. These brave students are using their holiday breaks to make this urgent appeal for congressional action, hoping to persuade legislators to bring the popular, bipartisan bill to a vote before going home to be with their own families.

California’s DACA recipients have been largely unsuccessful in their attempts to meet with their congressional representatives in locally. Therefore, several are convening in the nation’s capital to make sure their voices are heard. In San Diego, activists have held several events to appeal to U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, whose vote is deemed critical to passage of the Dream Act. Despite their efforts, Issa has refused to commit his support for the bill, putting many local Dreamers, including 1800 of his constituents, at risk of deportation.

The Washington, D.C. trip is one of a series of coordinated events aimed at calling attention to Dreamers’ plight since the Trump administration announced it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Unless Congress acts soon, about 800,000 young immigrants will lose their DACA status and be rendered deportable. These protections can be restored only with passage of the bipartisan Dream Act. The bill has widespread popular support and creates a pathway for DACA recipients to become citizens.

“For several years, I’ve had the ability to work and contribute to my community. I’ve felt safe from deportation with the protection afforded under DACA. But on Sept. 5, the Trump administration ended the program and now I feel exposed. I and about 800,000 other young immigrants confided in the government our home address and other personal data that can now be used to deport me,” said Betsy Garcia, San Diego Dream Team leader and participant on this trip. “We are asking Congress to pass the Dream Act to protect people like me from losing the only home I’ve ever known.  We are also asking Congress to pass a “clean” Dream Act without dangerous add-ons that would further militarize border communities,” she concluded.

Said Dreamer Diana Valdivia, another of the young activists on her way to D.C., “I have less than a year left before my DACA expires. Thanks to the work permit I received under DACA, I’m able to practice my grad degree with a full-time job, have access to health benefits, and support myself and my family. The thought of losing a stable income and being at-risk for deportation is devastating and scary. We need a clean #DreamActNow. There are too many lives at stake to do nothing.”

Juan Pablo, owner of the Super Cocina restaurant and a member of Business for Good, points out that many in the San Diego business community stand with Dreamers. “As a business owner, and foremost an immigrant, I believe it is imperative that we provide a sense of security and an equal future for our youth so as to create better and more productive communities.  The only way to truly strengthen our country is by immediately investing in these policies.”

Dreamers from all over the nation, including this group of nine from San Diego, will be in Washington, D.C. until Friday, December 22.  Every day will be filled with events and demonstrations, as well as meetings with key Members of Congress.

On Wednesday, December 20, there will be a national “Day of Action” led by events in D.C. and supplemented by local events throughout the country. One of those events will be a demonstration in Balboa Park, at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street, noon to 1 pm.