Immigrants United demand a ‘clean’ DREAM Act by caroling


Immigrants United demonstrated this week for a new DREAM Act

Dozens of families gathered at the Texas Governor’s mansion to support young undocumented immigrants

Dozens gathered at the Texas Governor’s Mansion on Tuesday night to demand the passage of a law in support of young immigrants using a unique approach — Christmas caroling.

Austin families urged elected officials to act with kindness and generosity this holiday season as an estimated 800,000 immigrant youths brought to the U.S. illegally as children await Congress to pass the DREAM Act, a bill that could create a path to citizenship for them.

“The holidays will take on a new, tragic meaning for me with just a few more weeks of legal protection,” said Luis Ortega, a college student and executive director of the Austin-based nonprofit Immigrants United. Although Ortega applied for a renewal of his permit under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, it expires on Dec. 29 and he has not heard back about his application’s status.

“Dec. 29 will be the last day I can help provide for my family,” Ortega said. “Like me, everyday students will begin losing their jobs, their permits, but the one thing we can’t lose is hope.”

RELATED: DACA recipient hoping dreams aren’t dashed

On Sept. 5, the Trump administration announced it was ending DACA, an Obama-era program that allowed young undocumented immigrants who qualified to obtain a work permit and protection from deportation. Trump gave Congress a mid-March deadline to come up with legislative replacement for it.

Yuridia Loera, a 22-year-old community organizer with United We Dream, said she wanted a “clean” DREAM Act, meaning one that doesn’t include any legislation that hurts other immigrants like her parents. The Trump administration has suggested that the DREAM Act should be accompanied by funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border or include limits on legal immigration.

Loera’s DACA permit has expired and though she submitted her renewal in April, her future is on hold as well. “I’m now afraid that because I’ve been waiting nine months that that means a rejection,” she said. Loera, the eldest of seven children, said her family lives on about $20,000 a year. Although she studied chemical engineering, she’s concerned about her ability to contribute to her family’s income. “I’m in limbo.”

Loera joined families on Tuesday night who huddled together singing their own versions of holiday songs in hopes of keeping momentum alive for a cause that’s sparked nationwide demonstrations this week.

On Wednesday, some Texas-based advocacy groups traveled to Washington, D.C. to demand Congress to pass the DREAM Act before this session ends.

RELATED: Austin DACA recipients renew, wait and hope for new path

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Kirans Austin story on 1.18.18

story text story text story text story text
Missing Buda man found dead in Travis County, officials say
Missing Buda man found dead in Travis County, officials say

A missing Buda man with “severe medical issues” was found dead Wednesday in Travis County, Buda police said. Buda police did not immediately release his cause of death. Before his body was found, 69-year-old David Dvorchak had last been seen Monday, leaving his Buda home for an appointment, Buda police said.
Cornyn, Cruz take opposing sides in Senate debate
Cornyn, Cruz take opposing sides in Senate debate

It was as close to a standoff as ever happens on the Senate floor: Texas GOP U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz were standing next to each other but working against each other, trying to convince a hold out senator to vote their way on foreign surveillance legislation. The clock was ticking on Tuesday night, with the usual 15-minute procedural vote...
Trump invokes Barbara Jordan in immigration debate, angering Democrats
Trump invokes Barbara Jordan in immigration debate, angering Democrats

President Donald Trump added an unexpected name into the national debate over immigration policy Wednesday by invoking the words of Barbara Jordan, the late groundbreaking Texas Democrat, in a message honoring her on the 22nd anniversary of her death. Trump said his “America First” immigration agenda was furthering “the spirit of...
Paxton: School voting action appears to violate state law
Paxton: School voting action appears to violate state law

A resolution encouraging students and public school employees to vote, adopted by school districts across the state, might have violated a state law that prohibits using public education money for partisan purposes, an opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Wednesday. Texas Educators Vote, a partnership of mostly pro-public education groups...
More Stories