Trump, as we know, loves the dreamers, incredible kids, some of them gang members and drug dealers, but again, loves. Today, those incredible, terrifying children marched up to their Staten Island Congressman to remind us that they’re still here.
To recap: In September, Trump ordered to end DACA, which will make 800,000 registered dreamers subject to deportation as early as March. After his announcement, he passed the buck to Congress, which now has to decide whether to pass the Dream Act. A clean Dream Act–which would be permanent–would protect undocumented immigrants who arrived before age 18, so long as they have a high school diploma and either attend college or serve in the military. It would provide over two million people a path to citizenship.
Undocumented families specifically demand a “clean” Dream Act–clean, as in an act not covered with a bunch of last-minute sticky notes like funding the wall and more money for border security and deportation agents, which would essentially protect dreamers but increase the likelihood of their parents getting deported. “It’s absolutely heinous,” says Make the Road youth organizer Luiza Tanuri. “You are saying we will grant you a pathway to citizenship, but your parents must go, I’ll terrorize your community, we will rip your family apart. They are using these young lives as bargaining chips to squeeze in all of their hateful policies.”
Watch this high school sophomore Gisele Mendez, Make the Road member, whose sister is protected by DACA, stand up to her Congressman with the persistence and gumption of a White House correspondent:
Watch Congressman Dan Donovan give this girl a meandering civics lesson with a half-formed opinion substantiated by a news story he forgets and mix up DACA with the Dream Act. Watch her school him on what his job is and then hand him 2,000 signed petitions.
Congressman Dan Donovan: I support the president’s desire to secure our nation. About a month ago, about nine people died in the back of a van that was brought across our country because they weren’t given any water or air conditioning in that van. And my belief is that if that van had been stopped at the border maybe–I’m not sure when those poor people died–but maybe those people would still be alive today. So I support DACA, but I also support protecting the border. And there’s not enough votes in Congress right now to get a clean DACA–clean Dream Act bill passed without attaching some moneys for some kind of border security.
Gisele Mendez: And if we do get enough voters, will you vote yes?
Donovan: I support the president in securing our borders.
[Audience member: Ask him again!]
Mendez: I’m sorry sir, you need to be a little more specific.
Donovan: I’m in favor of fixing DACA, and I’m also in favor of securing our borders.
Mendez: So that’s a no.
Audience member: Do you support a clean Dream Act?
Mendez: Like I said before, when we do get enough voters and supporters, you’re going to be one of those that say no.
Donovan: I’m going to be someone who supports DACA and border security.
Mendez: It’s a yes or no question sir.
And of course he doesn’t give a straight answer because they don’t have enough votes, so he can’t vote yes, and sure it’s his job, but government is hard.
Mendez is one of several students who spoke today, others held a vigil outside the town hall, and these kids got over 200 people to march with them. Please, please can we just fast forward 30 years into the future when this girl is president.