Tennesseans urge congressmen to pass Dream Act without amendment

Staff Reports • Sep 20, 2017 at 3:25 PM

A Lebanon recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, along with several local civil rights leaders, urged Congress on Wednesday to act immediately to pass the bipartisan Dream Act.

A few weeks ago, 186 civil and human rights groups sent a letter to Congress that called on lawmakers to take immediate action to pass the Dream Act in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“We stand united in calling on you to immediately pass the Dream Act without amendment so that young people who were brought to this country when they were children are protected,” the letter said. “We call on you to treat this with the urgency you would if it were your own son’s or daughter’s life at stake.”

In a telephone media briefing in Tennessee on Wednesday, one DACA recipient, along with four civil rights leaders from across Tennessee, explained what was done to urge the Tennessee representatives to pass the Dream Act.

Dulce Castro, a DACA recipient and freshman nursing student at Cumberland University, spoke about his experience as an immigrant and what the executive order passed by President Barack Obama meant for him.

“I came here with my family when I was 6,” said Castro, “From kindergarten to high school, I was at school in America. When it came time to go to college, I wasn’t sure how that would work. With the passage of DACA came a sense of security.”

Gloria Sweet-Love, president of the Tennessee National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, spoke about urging state senators to support the Dream Act.

“We will stand with the Dreamers,” said Sweet-Love. “We must keep these 8,300 people in the state of Tennessee.”

Phyllis Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League, talked about the importance of passing the Dream Act quickly.

“This act is vital to the richness of our quality of life,” said Nichols. “We must remember there is a human element involved in the threat to end DACA. We must always keep that in mind.”

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