Texas ‘Dreamers’ Are Disappointed With Congress But Will Keep Asking For Help In 2018

Activists feel a DACA fix should have been a priority before lawmakers began their recess

Texas "dreamers" are disappointed with Congress, but will keep asking for protection from deportation.

Members of the Texas "dreamer" community said Friday they are disappointed that the U.S. Congress will start its winter recess without addressing the situation of beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but they vowed to keep pressuring lawmakers in 2018 and demanding they provide a solution for their uncertain future in America.

The Congress approved this week a Continuing Resolution that averts a government shutdown, but the lawmakers didn't include any fix for the expiring DACA program.

Earlier this year President Donald Trump gave Congress until March of 2018 to do something about DACA, which has shielded from deportation hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought or arrived in the United States being children.

For the past few months, the so-called “dreamer” movement has conducted a nationwide campaign urging lawmakers to take action before the end of the year by passing what they call a “clean DREAM Act.”

Criticism of Democratic Senators

Using its Twitter account, United We Dream (UWD), the largest "dreamer" group in the U.S., is criticizing Democratic Senators who supported the Continuing Resolution without conditioning it to a DACA fix.

César Espinosa, founder and executive director of Houston-based "dreamer" group FIEL, a Spanish acronym that stands for Immigrant Families and Students in the Struggle, feels frustration because lawmakers are ending 2017 without addressing the DACA situation.

“We feel that this should have been a priority for the government, we feel that this should have been a priority for Democrats, as well as Republicans, and it is really a shame that they get to go home and be at peace with their families while the immigrant community continues to suffer,” the activist told Houston Public Media.

Strategy for 2018

Espinosa, nonetheless, stresses that FIEL, UWD and the other organizations that are part of the "dreamer" movement –as well as those groups that support it— will keep pressuring politicians, both members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, in 2018 to reach a bipartisan agreement that will protect DACA beneficiaries from deportation and that will eventually grant them a possibility to become U.S. citizens.

Republican Congressman John Culberson, who represents Texas' 7th Congressional District in the House, will be one of the politicians Espinosa said FIEL will ask for help.

“Definitely, you’ll be seeing action to continue pressuring,” said to Houston Public Media Julieta Garibay, co-founder and director of UWD's Texas chapter.

Garibay explained that, for example, members of her group will try to attend town hall meetings organized by lawmakers that represent Texas in Congress.

Espinosa and Garibay agree one of the arguments they will use next year when they reach out to politicians will be that, although DACA beneficiaries can't vote, some of them are members of so-called mixed status families, which means they have relatives that are U.S. citizens who can give or deny them their support when they go to the polls in the 2018 mid-term election.

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