Five years ago, our country made a promise.
When we implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, we made a promise to undocumented individuals who came to the United States as children. We promised that they no longer would have to live in the shadows in constant fear of deportation. That they could live, work, and go to school. That they would be able to lead a life of dignity and opportunity. We promised that we would protect DACA recipients.
But three months ago, Donald Trump broke that promise when he announced he was going to end the DACA program – leaving the lives of 800,000 young people in this country and 7,900 people right here in Massachusetts hanging in the balance. Soon DACA recipients will begin losing their status. They’ll be deported to a country many of them have no memory of.
I’ve met many Dreamers across Massachusetts. These are kids who have followed all the rules. They filled out forms, paid fees, passed background checks, jumped through all the hoops – all for a chance to continue to live their lives in the only home they have ever known.
And they have thrived. DACA recipients attend college and have dreams like becoming doctors, nurses, members of our armed services, schoolteachers, firefighters – you name it. They’ve become woven into a part of our Massachusetts fabric and the American fabric. And it is our responsibility to hold up our end of the deal.
That’s why I have recommitted my promise to DACA recipients: I will not support an end-of-year budget without a DACA program. Make no mistake – a budget bill without DACA is a bill to fund the deportation of hundreds of thousands of young people who believed the promises that America made to them. America should honor its promise.
We can pass a clean DREAM Act, a bipartisan bill that would give young people a path to citizenship, a bill that protects those young people without subjecting their parents or their siblings to deportation. We could do that right now, but time is running out for our Dreamers and Congress must act before the program ends.
I am ready to vote, and many Senators on both sides of the aisle are ready to vote. It’s time to stand up. I hope you’ll take a stand too. This week’s election results showed us the power of grassroots support. If we stand together and fight back, we can accomplish anything.
Call your friends with Republican Senators. Show up in-person. Protest. Post. Tweet. We need you to speak out every way you can to tell Congress that we need to pass a clean DREAM Act before time runs out.