Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), the chair of the Congressional Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform, was joined by Working Group colleagues Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01), as well as undocumented young people – DREAMers – and mothers of DREAMers at a Capitol Hill press conference last week. The press conference was held to support President Obama’s intention to move forward with executive action to reform our broken immigration system, and to explain why administrative relief granted through this process must include the parents of DREAMers. Mothers of DREAMers have been fasting outside of the White House to urge the President to protect all immigrants with deep ties to the United States from deportation. If the White House action excludes these women from relief, they will remain acutely vulnerable to exploitation at work and abuse at home.
“Since the DACA program was announced, I’ve personally met with dozens of DREAMers here in Washington and in Los Angeles,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard. “Thanks to President Obama’s courageous actions, many of these talented, ambitious young people are accomplishing amazing things. One of the biggest factors behind their success is the love and support they have received from their parents. Like the DREAMers, the parents of DREAMers love our country, and contribute to our economy every day. As women leaders in Congress, our message is simple, Mr. President: Don’t separate children from their parents. Keep families together. And enable moms and dads to come out of the shadows to openly contribute to our country, and to live their lives with dignity and respect.”
“The President has legal authority to act to improve our immigration system so that it better meets the needs of our country and more accurately reflects the values that we hold dear,” said Congresswoman Lofgren. “There is no real question about that. He also has a moral imperative to act. And when he does, it is critically important he include the hardworking parents of DREAMers – the people who raised these exceptional, high-achieving young people.”
“For over a year, House Republicans have refused to allow a vote on the bipartisan immigration reform passed by the Senate. The cost of inaction is far too steep, measured by the thousands of hardworking immigrant families who are separated each year,” said Congresswoman Titus. “In the absence of comprehensive reform legislation, I urge the President to use his authority to extend DACA protection to DREAMers’ mothers and fathers and relieve families from the constant threat of separation by deportation.”
“It is becoming clear that there is a new consensus emerging from those who support our communities – the parents of DREAMers must be protected,” said Lorella Praeli, a DREAMer and the Director of Advocacy and Policy at United We Dream, America’s largest immigrant youth-led organization. “There are those who suggest that the President abandon the parents of DREAMers by excluding them from an administrative relief package – they are wrong. There are those who suggest that the President should do nothing at all and maintain the status quo of deportations, who vote to put DREAMers back on the road to deportation – they are wrong.”
Other members of the Congressional Women’s Working Group also offered their support.
“I urge President Obama to use his executive authority to protect immigrant families who are living and contributing to our communities,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27). “Women are the backbones of our families and our communities, but our broken immigration system is chipping away at the support they provide. Mothers of DREAMers have sacrificed so much for their children to have a chance at the American dream. Parents must be allowed to stay with children, regardless of their status.”
“I want to thank the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform for highlighting an important aspect of our broken immigration system that requires our swift and immediate attention,” said Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04). “It is clear that our nation’s record-high deportation levels cultivate a culture of fear and often disproportionately affects women, children, and families. Our next generations of bright and promising youth need stable and loving family units that provide the support needed to grow and thrive. It is shameful as Americans that we continue to utilize our resources against the parents of DREAMers. I stand with my colleagues in urging the President to take bold steps in providing relief to these families in need.”
Below is a copy of Rep. Roybal-Allard’s statement from last week’s press conference:
“As Chair of the Congressional Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform, I thank you for attending today’s press conference. We’re here today to highlight the important role parents played in the tremendous success of President Obama’s deferred action policy for DREAMers, and to strongly encourage him to use his powers under current law to protect the parents of DREAMers from deportation.
“Since the DACA program was announced, I’ve personally met with dozens of DREAMers here in Washington and in Los Angeles. Thanks to President Obama’s courageous actions, many of these talented, ambitious young people are accomplishing amazing things.
“Because of DACA, Andree from East L.A. is now studying at Harvard, and wants to be a doctor so she can help disadvantaged people in her community get the care they need. And because of DACA, Valeria from Huntington Park, California, is now a teacher’s assistant working to educate our kids to become America’s future leaders. They, and hundreds of thousands of DREAMers like them, are giving back to their communities, helping to make America a stronger, more prosperous nation. This would not have been possible without President Obama’s decision to use his authority under existing law to protect the DREAMers from the injustices of our broken immigration system.
One of the biggest factors behind the success of these young people is the love and support they have received from their parents. Like most American kids, Andree and Valeria would never have been able to achieve success without their parents, who provided the encouragement and emotional support so their children could pursue the American Dream. Like the DREAMers, the parents of DREAMers love our country, and contribute to our economy every day.
As women leaders in Congress, our message is simple, Mr. President: Don’t separate children from their parents. Keep families together. And enable moms and dads to come out of the shadows to openly contribute to our country, and to live their lives with dignity and respect.
Thank you again for being here.”
Published: Nov. 27, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 33