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DACA Activists Demand Permanent Dream Act Agreement on Legislative Deadline

March 5, 2018

By Mario A. Cortez

A group of local activists once again called out for a clean Dream Act in a press conference on Monday, March 5, date by which the Trump administration suggested congress provide a solution regarding the fate of immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

From a podium, DACA recipients who make up the activist group San Diego Border Dreamers spoke on the west lawn of San Diego City College about the importance of the program and to urge lawmakers to pass a Dream Act without any concessions attached as soon as possible.

The event was a response to a deadline which was created by the Trump Administration on Sept. 5, 2017, when the president ended DACA and gave congress six months to reach an agreement over this immigration-related subject.

During the six-month period, beneficiaries whose protections expired could renew their status, although the United States Citizenship and immigration initially stated that would not accept new program applications.

Although March 5 was meant to be the end of DACA, two temporary lower court injunctions have stopped the Trump administration from ceasing the plan in its entirety. However, as DACA protections begin to expire, it is estimated that over 1000 beneficiaries of this program will become subjects for deportation every day.

Since September, a number of deals on DACA have fallen by the wayside in Congress. Among these was a controversial proposal which provided a 12-year pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients in exchange for $25 billion in funding for a “border wall system”.

During Monday’s conference, Osmar Abad, a 29-year-old human resources specialist and DACA beneficiary, called for lawmakers to respond the deadline with an agreement on the future of DACA beneficiaries, citing a bilateral approval of dreamers among both party bases.

“Today there has been no action. Where are we? Where do we stand?” Abad asked. “The Dream Act and Dreamers have an 86 percent approval ratings across the country, even among Trump supporters; why is nothing being done?”

“(Congress) owes us a permanent legislation on DACA,” said Itzel Guillen of human rights nonprofit Alliance San Diego. “To this day, nothing has happened; we do not have a protection or legislation and it doesn’t look like congress or the administration will keep the topic as a priority like it should be.”

While action was the primary focus of the speeches, some focused on the positive impact DACA has created as proof that a permanent solution for “Dreamers” is needed.

Luis Tinoco has lived in the United States since he was seven years old. Today, he owns a mechanic shop in Chula Vista through which he offers internships to local high schoolers and serves his community. He spoke about the importance of DACA and how this Obama-era program has positively impacted his life.

“Thanks to DACA, I was able to get more contracts and started working with the City of Chula Vista and the school district,” Tinoco said. “Us Dreamers will keep standing up and and we need this administration to bring a resolution for something that at the end of the day is going to (affect) us.”

In recent months, San Diego Border Dreamers have held a number of events to call for a clean dream act, among their activities, the group held a rally at the border wall segment located at the binational Friendship Park, hosted a response address to the presidential State of The Union which focused on DACA beneficiaries, and, most recently, hosted a fundraiser art show.

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