Minority leader Pelosi joins CAPAC and Asian American DREAMers to demand immediate passage of the DREAM Act


South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), a nation­al civ­il rights and racial jus­tice orga­ni­za­tion, ful­ly sup­ports calls by Rep. Nan­cy Pelosi, Rep. Judy Chu, and oth­er mem­bers of Con­gres­sion­al lead­er­ship for the imme­di­ate pas­sage of the DREAM Act. These demands come on the heels of last week’s deci­sion by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion to ter­mi­nate the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) pro­gram, the lat­est in this admin­is­tra­tion’s anti-immi­grant poli­cies that puts 800,000 peo­ple at risk of depor­ta­tion from the only coun­try they’ve ever called home.

“This administration’s heart­less, end­less efforts to tar­get and mar­gin­al­ize immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties makes the imme­di­ate pas­sage of a clean DREAM Act all the more urgent,” stat­ed Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT. “SAALT joins Con­gres­sion­al lead­er­ship in staunch sup­port of the imme­di­ate pas­sage of the DREAM Act, and we call on all elect­ed and appoint­ed offi­cials to defend our com­mu­ni­ties through their words and actions.”

At a press con­fer­ence on the DREAM Act, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Nan­cy Pelosi not­ed, “It’s an hon­or to be here with DREAM­ers, who are advanc­ing the Amer­i­can dream. With their courage, with their opti­mism, and with their inspi­ra­tion, they make Amer­i­ca more American.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Judy Chu stat­ed, “It was only last week that Pres­i­dent Trump issued one of the cru­elest orders he ever could, the end of DACA, forc­ing 800,000 peo­ple to face depor­ta­tion to coun­tries that they do not even know. We are here to say, ‘We will fight for our DREAMers.’”

Chi­rayu Patel, Co-Founder of the DACA Net­work and a DREAM­er him­self, stat­ed, “I have built a life here: gone to ele­men­tary, mid­dle school, high school, and col­lege. The deci­sion by Pres­i­dent Oba­ma in 2012 to enact the DACA pro­gram was a con­se­quen­tial day for me, as I believed this was the first step to earn my Amer­i­can cit­i­zen­ship. Last week’s deci­sion by Pres­i­dent Trump turned my life upside down. We will not be used as bar­gain­ing chips in polit­i­cal games­man­ship between the par­ties. We are call­ing on Con­gress to pass a clean DREAM Act now. Now is the time for Con­gress to make a deci­sion on whether they’re going to sup­port us or if they’re going to stand in the way of progress.”

Over 27,000 Asian Amer­i­cans, includ­ing 5,500 Indi­ans and Pak­ista­nis, have already received DACA. An addi­tion­al esti­mat­ed 17,000 indi­vid­u­als from India and 6,000 Pak­istan respec­tive­ly are eli­gi­ble for DACA, plac­ing India in the top ten coun­tries for DACA eli­gi­bil­i­ty. With the ter­mi­na­tion of DACA, these indi­vid­u­als could face depor­ta­tion at the dis­cre­tion of the administration.

Our immi­gra­tion laws are bad­ly bro­ken — dis­re­gard­ing our val­ues is not the answer to fix­ing them. We call on Con­gress to do its job and imme­di­ate­ly pass a clean DREAM Act that cre­ates a roadmap to cit­i­zen­ship for aspir­ing new Amer­i­cans. This is the only way to align our immi­gra­tion laws with the val­ues Amer­i­cans hold dear.

CONTACT: Vivek Trive­di — vivek@saalt.org