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Immigrant Rights Advocates Rally in Salem

The immigrant rights group Causa is advocating for the passage of Senate Bill 1563 by Oregon lawmakers. (Courtesy of Causa)
The immigrant rights group Causa is advocating for the passage of Senate Bill 1563 by Oregon lawmakers. (Courtesy of Causa)
February 14, 2018

SALEM, Ore. - Advocates for immigrants' rights are gathering in Salem today to meet with Oregon legislators.

The organization Causa will be at the Capitol to support immigrant communities across the state. The group's executive director, Andrea Williams, said state lawmakers in recent years have done a good job of protecting and supporting immigrants in Oregon.

"In past legislative sessions," she said, "Oregon legislators have really taken leadership in advancing an inclusive Oregon by making sure all children have access to health care, to make sure that immigrant families have their information protected when federal agents go to places like schools and courthouses, taking their information."

In Salem, Causa will be pushing for Senate Bill 1563. In the past, students who have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals documentation have been able to get in-state tuition, but President Donald Trump terminated the program last year. SB 1563 would remove the requirement that non-citizens have to apply for DACA in order to get in-state tuition.

While she is happy with state legislators' actions, Williams said she is disappointed that Congress has not done more to protect immigrants. In particular, she wants national leaders to pass a solution for so-called Dreamers before DACA program protections end on March 5.

"We're hoping that Congress doesn't try to go for comprehensive immigration reform," she said, "but rather they focus on fixing a very urgent, critical issue, which is that of DACA recipients."

There are 11,000 DACA recipients in Oregon and more than 800,000 nationwide. This week, the U.S. Senate began debating possible solutions for DACA recipients. However, the Senate also is looking at other aspects of immigration reform, making the fate of a solution for Dreamers uncertain.

The text of SB 1563 is online at olis.leg.state.or.us.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR