Feb. 9, 2018 – Following the early morning passage and signing of a spending bill that does not resolve Dreamers’ urgent crisis and ahead of a promised Senate immigration debate next week, the following are assessments and reactions from Juan Escalante, Communications Manager of America’s Voice and a DACA recipient, as well as Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice.

Juan Escalante stated the following:

 Just like hundreds of thousands of Dreamers all across the country, I find myself frustrated and disappointed at members of Congress for failing, once again, to pass meaningful protections that would shield immigrant youth from Donald Trump’s deportation force. This is the third time in the past 10 years that I have seen Congress throw Dreamers into uncertainty by failing to pass the Dream Act or similar legislation.

Despite the fact that 85% of the country wants Congress to resolve Dreamers’ crises, and the majorities in both congressional chambers say they want the same, too many members of Congress of both parties have ceded the debate to far-right Republicans and a Trump administration that insists that we are “lazy” “illegal” immigrants.

Once again, it will be on Dreamers to rise up and fight to protect themselves and their families. The fight is far from over. I will not give up until Dreamers across the country can live a life of dignity and respect and are free from the constant fear of deportation.

Frank Sharry stated the following:

It’s a searing indictment of this Congress that major legislation moved forward this week without relief for Dreamers. Republicans have resisted with a tenacity that makes their repeated assurances that they want to protect Dreamers ring hollow. Democrats have fought hard but, in the end, many opted to say yes to other priorities and leave Dreamers behind. This is inhumane and indecent.

Now we need to dust ourselves off and get ready for a Senate immigration debate that offers an opportunity for Congress to redeem itself. We know the basic framework of what it will take to get it done – an approach that narrows the focus of the legislative debate to a pairing of the Dream Act with smart border security measures.

The White House and their nativist allies have been nothing but a problem. First, the President created this crisis when he ended DACA. Over the past five months, Trump has turned down bipartisan solutions multiple times. To add insult to injury, they introduced a framework just recently that has destabilized the debate. It’s a cynical attempt to use the desperation of Dreamers as bargaining chips to advance a massive overhaul that is racist, un-American, and unacceptable.

We’re at a moment of reckoning. Congress now faces a test of basic decency and fundamental values that will decide what type of country we are. Do we want to protect or deport Dreamers? The Senate will have to answer this question next week.