Rep. Roybal-Allard Speaks at Capitol Event to Support DREAMers and Defend DACA
Today, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), the lead House Democratic sponsor of the DREAM Act of 2017, the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, and the co-chair of the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform, joined House and Senate Democrats at a U.S. Capitol event to support DREAMers and defend Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program President Trump has announced he will end in six months. In her remarks at the event, Congresswoman Roybal-Allard urged her colleagues to support the DREAM Act, and urged Speaker Ryan to bring a clean DREAM Act to the House floor without delay.
The DREAM Act of 2017, which Congresswoman Roybal-Allard has introduced with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), is a bipartisan bill allowing U.S.-raised immigrant youth to earn lawful permanent residence and American citizenship. The bill currently has 114 cosponsors in the House, and growing. The companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
Congresswoman Roybal-Allard’s remarks from today’s Capitol event, as prepared for delivery, are below.
“I stand here in outrage at President Trump's unconscionable and un-American decision to destroy DACA, and I join my colleagues to declare our commitment to fight in defense of these young men and women who enrich our economy, our culture, and our society. The president’s decision brings shame to our country, and heartbreak and fear to these young people who, regardless of their immigration status, are American in every way. His senseless and cruel decision upends their lives and the lives of their families, and sends a chilling message to immigrant communities.
“Terminating this critical program also strikes a vicious blow to our American economy, by forcing hundreds of thousands of young people out of the workforce, disrupting businesses, and sending adverse shockwaves through the economies of most of our states. California alone stands to lose $11.6 billion annually, and the U.S. overall stands to lose $460 billion in GDP cumulatively over the next decade.
“The vast majority of Americans, regardless of their political affiliation, support our nation’s DACA recipients. Democrats are ready to join our Republican colleagues in passing the DREAM Act of 2017, which Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and I have introduced. This bipartisan, bicameral bill will allow U.S.-raised immigrant youth to earn lawful permanent residence and a pathway to American citizenship. I urge my colleagues to support the DREAM Act, and I urge Speaker Ryan to bring a clean DREAM Act to the floor without delay.”
Since 2012, the DACA program has enabled DREAMers to come out of the shadows to work, go to school, and give back to their communities and this country without fear of deportation. The DREAM Act of 2017 will force the U.S. government to uphold its end of the DACA agreement. The DREAM Act will allow young people to earn lawful permanent residence, and eventually American citizenship, if they:
• Are longtime residents who came to the U.S. as children;
• Graduate from high school or obtain a GED;
• Pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least three years, or serve in the military;
• Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee;
• Demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of United States history; and
• Have not committed a felony or other serious crimes and do not pose a threat to our country.
America has already invested in these young people by educating them in our schools, and they are now a vital part of our workforce. They contribute to our economic growth and our society as teachers, engineers, nurses, and small business owners. The DREAM Act would strengthen America by keeping these talented and ambitious young people in our country, rather than losing their talents to foreign competitors.