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AZ Latino Leaders Make All-Out Push for Dream Act

Immigrant-rights advocates pleaded for a deal on DACA at a recent protest. (Promize Arizona)
Immigrant-rights advocates pleaded for a deal on DACA at a recent protest. (Promize Arizona)
January 15, 2018

PHOENIX -- Leaders in Arizona's immigrant-rights community are launching an all-out campaign to get lawmakers to pass the Dream Act as part of the federal budget, which has to be approved by Friday.

The group Promise Arizona held a five-hour "souls to the phones" event on Sunday, and plans another for Tuesday. They are directing supporters to call Sen. Jeff Flake and encourage him to press for a clean Dream Act without funding for a border wall.

They're also sending a delegation of Dreamers to Washington, D.C., this week, including Carlos Yanez, who came to the U.S. from Mexico at age six, and is now at Arizona State University.

"My dream is to become a doctor,” Yanez said. “And so for me, it would mean that I get to follow my dream."

Today, supporters of DACA will be marching as part of the Martin Luther King Day Parade in Phoenix to press their argument for allowing DACA recipients a shot at the American dream.

President Donald Trump ended the DACA program last fall, but delayed the effective date for the termination until March. He said President Barack Obama overstepped his authority when he created the program in 2012.

Just last week, a federal judge in California ruled that the administration must continue to accept DACA applications while the matter is under litigation.

Yanez says he can't imagine being forced to move back to Mexico and hopes the final deal includes a way for his undocumented parents to get work permits.

"They're the ones that worked so hard to bring us here, and they sacrificed so much and they deserve something as well,” he said. "So if we do get something, it will be like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders."

There are 800,000 DACA recipients in the U.S.

Trump has said he is open to a deal, but wants funding for a border wall, an end to the practice of allowing recent immigrants to sponsor family members to come to the U.S., and new rules replacing the current lottery system for green cards with one that prioritizes highly-skilled immigrants in the future.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ