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Local Pro-Immigration Activists March In Houston Criticizing Senator Cornyn And Democrats

With the looming probability of Congress passing a budget without a compromise on DACA, the Houston chapter of United We Dream planned to lead a march to City Hall

Houston dreamers and nationwide have marched and rallied since 2017, when President Donald Trump announced that he was putting an end to DACA, the executive program that protects them from deportation.

With the increasing possibility that Congress will pass a bipartisan budget bill that does not include a solution for the expiring DACA program this week, immigration activists were ready to march in Houston on Thursday asking for protection for the ‘dreamers’ and criticizing both U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and the Democratic Party.

The ‘dreamers’ are young undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as minors by their parents. 

United We Dream (UWD), the nation’s largest ‘dreamer’ group, had planned a march  scheduled to start at 4 p.m. at 1900 Kane Street towards City Hall.

Besides UWD, representatives from the Texas chapter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Texas Organizing Project (TOP), Mi Familia Vota and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) were also scheduled to march, as well as Texas Democratic State Senator Sylvia Garcia (District 6), according to Óscar Hernández, lead field organizer for UWD in Houston.

Hernández said the goal of the march is to continue pressuring lawmakers regardless of what happens in Congress this week.

“I don’t want anyone in our communities to feel like we’re venting,” noted the activist referring to the probability that a bill will pass without any guarantees of protection from deportation for the ‘dreamers.’

Hernández stressed they are focusing on Senator Cornyn  because he has a lot of seniority in the U.S. Senate and a powerful position. The Texas senior senator is the GOP whip.

“He has a lot of power, he has a huge platform,” the activist commented, while adding that, like other Republicans who have “claimed to be moderate” or claimed to care about DACA, Cornyn has said he cares about ‘dreamers’. “Yet,” Hernández added “they use us for talking points in that sense, and then do the complete opposite and try to pass things that hurt our community or get in the way of things that can actually benefit our community.”

“So, we’re tired of their lies and we’re tired of false promises when what they’ve shown again and again is that they’re willing to hurt and separate families,” stressed the activist.

But Cornyn is not the only one being criticized.

Hernández noted that Democrats haven’t done “enough.” “We do feel that the Democrats could have done more to protect the community and that have made promises that they have not been keeping up.”

Senator Garcia  said she wanted to march with the ‘dreamers’ because, given the possibility Congress will pass a budget bill without immigration provisions, “it’s important more now than ever that we stand with the ‘dreamers’ and we stand for a clean DREAM Act and protect our DACA kids.” A clean DREAM Act is a bill that would include a path to citizenship for the ‘dreamers’ but with no border wall attached. 

“I’ve always been standing with them and today is no different, it’s just another action to ask Congress and the President to come to terms with this issue and move us forward,” Garcia added.

As for what can happen in the next few weeks, with DACA expiring in March, Hernández said that “it’s very hard to predict where politics are going” and added that “things shift too frequently and it makes it very difficult to tell in a month from now how we’re gonna move forward,” although he assured the ‘dreamers’ would continue to “fight” and “push”, contacting Congress and the White House.

Cornyn’s office indicated in an email that the senator has repeatedly said he wants to help the ‘dreamers’ to stop being at risk of deportation and has referred to an immigration framework recently released by the White House that proposes legalizing 1.8 million undocumented immigrants, including the chance to become American citizens.

“We are a country that believes that children shouldn’t have to pay a penalty because of their parents’ conduct, and so President Trump has generously offered 1.8 million of these young immigrants an opportunity to a pathway to full participation in American society,” the email noted, quoting a statement Cornyn made in Washington, D.C. this week.

Democrats and even some pro-‘dreamers’ organizations reject the proposal because it includes building a border wall.

Besides the march in Houston, UWD had planned other “actions” across Texas to take place on Thursday, including marches and vigils in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Laredo, New Braunfels and Tyler.

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