Members of Congress and an alliance of Jewish and Latinx community leaders gathered on the east lawn of the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to demand Congress includes a clean DREAM Act in the government funding bill, so as to stop the deportations of DREAMers.
After President Donald Trump's decision to put an end to DACA, immigrants who benefited from the program are hanging in the balance, frequently being targeted by immigration agents.
Over 100 people came from around the country to the Russell Senate Office Building to demand passage of the DREAM Act, which will protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Most of them were forcibly removed by Capitol Police.
However, until the Republicans and Democrats arrive at a concrete solution for DREAMers, activists will continue to go for daily demonstrations in the offices of high-profile Democratic and Republican members of Congress, including those of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN).
They demand that this week’s spending bill must include a provision for a DREAM Act. The demonstrators vowed to vote against the bill if that doesn’t happen, even if it means shutting down the government.
“We are on the right side of history, we are on the right side of the issue — we have to help those who don’t understand that,” said National LULAC President Roger Rocha Jr.
“You all are the next generation, you are the best and brightest, we cannot afford to lose individuals such as yourselves,” he added. “The future of this country solely relies on you.”
Several Jewish community groups, including the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, also joined in the League of United Latin American Citizens at the press conference.
More than 50 Jewish faith leaders joined in to call on the congress to pass a clean DREAM act.
They were arrested through an act of civil disobedience, while standing in solidarity with the more than 800,000 DREAMers whose future hangs in the balance.
“We stand here today with our Latino brothers and sisters because our values and our history demand it,” said Elana Kahn, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. “As Jews, we know what it’s like when we’re marginalized, deported, treated without compassion. We know what it’s like to be left behind, to be treated like a stranger, even in our own home. We stand with our immigrant neighbors, with our Latino brothers and sisters, shoulder-to-shoulder and eye-to-eye.”
Participants also made sure to make an impact on social media with the hashtag #LetMyPeopleStay.
Today, I'll be engaging in an act of civil disobedience on Capitol Hill with over 100 Jewish activists to demand a clean #DreamActNow. Congress cannot continue business as usual while DREAMers face imminent deportation. #LetMyPeopleStay@theRAC @UnitedWeDream @jewishaction— Rabbi Jonah Pesner (@JonahPesner) January 17, 2018
WOW! Over 100 American Jews are sitting in at the Senate building in support of Dreamers. They will not leave until Congress passes a #DreamActNow or are removed.— Make the Road NY (@MaketheRoadNY) January 17, 2018
These are the faces of the Jewish resistance calling on Congress to #LetMyPeopleStay! pic.twitter.com/X1yjl3Lnaq
Brave coalition of our Jewish Leaders sitting and singing powerful words of justice as they hold their ground until a clean dream act is passed #LetMyPeopleStay #DreamActNow pic.twitter.com/NX3KLkUWqk— Michele Freed (@freedmichele) January 17, 2018
Bold action happening in the Senate right now demanding action from Congress on a clean #DreamActNow. We are proud to stand with @JewishAction @UnitedWeDream and American Jews across the country in support of Dreamers. #LetMyPeopleStay pic.twitter.com/pLm8fHyzIR— Make the Road NY (@MaketheRoadNY) January 17, 2018
BREAKING: Jewish Leaders have taken over the rotunda in the Capitol building. They are refusing to leave until a clean #DreamAct is passed.— Adam Greenberg (@pragmactivist) January 17, 2018
Police say they will be arrested.#DreamActNow #LetMyPeopleStay. pic.twitter.com/67asSVniCC
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Lucy Nicholson