Speaking Out In Support of the Dream Act

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Speaking Out In Support of the Dream Act

Today, on October 3rd, YWCA USA stood with our partners on Capitol Hill to call on Congress to act immediately to protect the more than 800,000 DREAMers who have received DACA protection, and some 200,000 “little DREAMers” who have been waiting to turn 15 to meet DACA’s age requirements.

YWCA USA Field Engagement Manager Samantha Davis spoke on behalf of YWCA USA, alongside Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Kamala Harris (D-CA), and incredible advocates and allies from United We Dream, Center for American Progress Action Fund, VotoLatino, MomsRising, Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and more. You can watch the full rally and hear from all the speakers in this video.

We encourage you to watch or read Samantha’s full remarks, which follow below:

Good Afternoon. I am Samantha Davis, Field Engagement Manager for the YWCA USA. I am honored to bring greetings from our CEO, Alejandra Castillo and the 215 local YWCAs, serving 2 million women and their families throughout our nation.

Today, as we are faced with deep anti-immigrant sentiments, and continued policing of people of color, we reaffirm our vision of peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

We stand in solidarity with undocumented immigrants and communities of color who are targeted by ICE, law enforcement and other systems of authority. This administration has now rescinded DACA, promised to increase immigration enforcement as well as escalate police authority with reduced oversight. These efforts work to create a storm of racial profiling, police violence, raids, detentions and deportations — each having long lasting impacts on immigrant families and the community, at large.

Roughly 97 percent of the recipients of DACA identify as people of color. I want to be clear: ending DACA is not about the Constitution. This is about xenophobia. This is about race.

People of color bear a disproportionate burden of negative outcomes by no fault of their own. The rescission of DACA and failure to pass the Dream Act only exacerbates these inequities.

It is our responsibility to protect and support these communities. It is our responsibility to ensure conversations about immigrant rights are intersectional, identify the ways in which women and girls are harmed, and it is our responsibility to resist anti-Blackness.

We know that immigrants, or those perceived as immigrants, are under threat of racial and religious profiling. According to research conducted by the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Black immigrants are three times more likely than all immigrants combined to be detained and deported.

As one of the largest network of domestic violence service providers in the U.S., we know that these proposed immigration changes, and executive orders have devastating effects on immigrant survivors of gender based violence. Abusers often use immigration status as a tactic of abuse to intimidate and control victims. There is no clearer example of this danger than the recent arrest of Ms. Gonzalez in the courthouse in El Paso immediately after she obtained a protection order against her abuser. We are receiving reports from local YWCAs across the nation that the immigrant women and families we serve are refraining from participating in programs, due to the fear of being detained or deported. If survivors of violence can’t even be safe when seeking services or getting protection orders, where can they be safe?

We call on advocates to lift up women of color, in particular Black women in their conversations; we call on local jurisdictions to provide sanctuary for immigrant families and people of color. And today, we stand with our partners at Planned Parenthood and Center for American Progress to call on Congress to act NOW to protect the more than 800,000 DREAMers who have received DACA protection, and some 200,000 “little DREAMers” who have been waiting to turn 15 to meet DACA’s age requirements.

YWCA has long understood that not one of us can be free, until we are all free. Thus it is up to us all, to ensure that Dreamers, Black immigrants, women, LGBTQ+ immigrants and families not only survive, but have access to resources and opportunities they need to thrive.

As Samantha asserted, and as YWCA USA has long understood, none of us is free until all of us are free. It is up to ALL of us to protect and take a stand for immigrants. An attack on anyone’s rights is an attack on all of our rights.

We need Congress to act NOW to pass the Dream Act (S.1615/H.R.3440), which would provide legal status and a permanent pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and “little Dreamers,” and to put an end to the uncertainty and trauma they now face.

Write your Members of Congress today and ask them to support and pass the bipartisan Dream Act, today!