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MADISON, WISCONSIN — On Wednesday, November 29th, US Congressman Mark Pocan of Wisconsin announced he would not vote for legislation to continue funding the government unless the bill includes measures protecting immigrant youth now vulnerable to deportation and separation from their families following Donald Trump’s elimination of the DACA program. Rep. Pocan signed a “Dear Colleague” letter saying that measures protecting immigrant youth and laying out a path forward to passing a clean Dream Act are necessary to ensure his vote. The clean Dream Act provides a path to citizenship for immigrant youth and includes no measures to further militarize border communities, build a bigoted border wall, or increase deportations and the separation of families. The letter reads in part:
We want to be crystal clear that our votes for any spending package come with a requirement: we are committed to passage of the Dream Act (H.R. 3440) and will demand a clear road forward on the Dream Act as a condition of our support for Republican objectives. We will not support a spending bill that funds the deportation of Dreamers and their families without addressing this urgent crisis.
“Speaker Ryan must bring the DREAM Act to the House Floor if he wants our support for a spending package,” said Congressman Mark Pocan (D, WI-02). “A bipartisan majority in Congress supports this common sense solution for the more than 700,000 DREAMERs put at risk by President Trump’s unconscionable decision to end the program, and continued inaction is unacceptable. Congress must act immediately to pass this bill.”
“My mom arrived in the United States when she was 19 and I was 4,” said Ilse Merlin, a member of Voces de la Frontera’s student arm Youth Empowered in the Struggle from Racine, Wisconsin. “Thanks to DACA, I am able to work as an educator. There are hundreds of thousands of young people like me. I applaud Congressman Pocan for standing with the millions of families threatened with separation by Trump’s cruel decision to end DACA. As a constituent of Speaker Paul Ryan, I urge him to follow Congressman Pocan’s lead and include the clean Dream Act and measures to protect immigrant youth in the must-pass spending legislation.”
“We applaud Congressman Pocan for his leadership,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera. “We urge all members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation to vote against any spending bill that does not include measures supported by almost 90% of voters to protect immigrant youth now under threat following Trump’s elimination of DACA. Right now, 122 young people are losing the ability to work, drive, and stay protected from deportation every day. Speaker Ryan and Congress must act now to protect immigrant families and pass the clean Dream Act. Voces de la Frontera is mobilizing two buses from Wisconsin to go to Washington, DC, on December 6th to participate in massive nationwide protests demanding the clean Dream Act be included in federal spending legislation.”