FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2017
Thousands of Immigrants, Friends and Families Rally on Capitol Hill to Demand the DREAM Act NowCongressman Luis Gutierrez and Congresswoman Judy Chu Risk Arrest During Civil Disobedience with Activists
(Washington, D.C.)—Thousands of immigrants, activists, educators, students, families and friends rallied on Capitol Hill to demand Congress pass the DREAM Act and find a permanent solution for TPS beneficiaries before the year’s end. In an act of escalation, 181 people risked arrest during the largest civil disobedience of the modern immigration rights movement. Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) and Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) were among those arrested.
“Our families cannot keep waiting for Congress to act and pass the DREAM Act,” said Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) spokesperson Kica Matos. “Millions of people’s lives are on the line and more than 120 DACAmented youth lose their status daily. Congress needs to do its job and pass the DREAM Act before leaving for recess. We deserve the opportunity to live our lives with dignity and without fear of being deported.”
Immigrant communities have been confronting a series of attacks and setbacks, particularly the termination of DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Sudanese people. Tens of thousands of other TPS holders face uncertainty as the renewal deadlines loom. Congress can pass the Dream Act for immigrant youth and a solution for the 300,000 TPS holders who have long made United States their home.
“Today was one of the biggest mobilizations by immigrants and for immigrants in years,” said CASA in Action president Gustavo Torres. “Thousands stood up for their rights to be in this country and our allies showed up as well. The truth is Americans all over the country support Dreamers and those with TPS. Teachers, parish priests, neighbors, sons, everybody wanted to show their support. People recognize that this is a human rights issue during a very dark time in this nation’s history.”
More than 70 buses full of immigrants came to DC, including 30 organized by CASA/CASA in Action. The FIRM participants came from 21 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
The Rally to Defend Our Immigrant Families was organized by FIRM, CASA/Casa in Action, SEIU and United We Dream.