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Right now, the eyes of the entire country are watching the crucial fight over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the future of hundreds of thousands of young immigrant “Dreamers” who face the threat of deportation by the Trump administration.
A broad coalition of progressive activists are fighting for Congressional action to guarantee that the Dreamers are given a path to citizenship and allowed to remain in this country. If the president and other anti-immigration hardliners continue to reject proposed legislative deals that would include those provisions, we could be headed for a full government shutdown in the next few days or weeks.
In September, when the Trump administration cruelly and baselessly decided to end the DACA program, it was immediately clear that the move was part of a broad campaign to target immigrants and step up deportations. Like so many of the actions of this administration, the decision was motivated by xenophobia and designed purely to cater to the prejudices of the president’s far-right base.
The fight for the Dreamers, and against bigotry and deportation, is a fight for the soul and the future of our country.
As American Jews, we know that our country was built on the incredible hard work of immigrants – and that if America had not opened its doors as a place of refuge and opportunity for our ancestors, most of our families would not be here today. Our community’s core values are rooted in compassion for our neighbors, solidarity with the oppressed, and fierce opposition to racism and discrimination. That’s why we feel compelled to stand with the Dreamers. As J Street said when Trump first acted to kill DACA:
“The United States has always been a nation of immigrants, and the Dreamers represent some of the greatest immigration success stories in our country today. They were brought here as children and know no other home than the United States. They have worked hard to build lives for themselves and their families, making our country a better and more prosperous place in the process. They deserve to continue to live, work and thrive here – and to have the threat of being cast out of their home permanently lifted.”
Today, we were deeply inspired to see dozens of Jewish activists, led by Bend the Arc Jewish Action, occupying the rotunda of the Senate’s Russell Office Building on Capitol Hill, where they rallied with a group of Dreamers to demand that Congress include a clean DREAM act in its government funding bill. Their impressive act of civil disobedience, which culminated in the arrest of many of the activists, sent a powerful and important message about American Jewish values and priorities.
The fight for the Dreamers, and against bigotry and deportation, is a fight for the soul and the future of our country. At J Street, we’re proud to support the incredible efforts of the organizations on the front lines of this fight in the Jewish community and beyond.