Stop Playing Games: Protect Immigrant Youth and Families NOW!
Events Media Release | March 5, 2018
Nebraskans demand Congress protect immigrant families, communities during nationwide day of action
As DACA deadline arrives, nationwide and statewide actions will urge Congress “Stop Playing Games”
OMAHA — On Monday, the day of the President’s self-imposed deadline to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Nebraskans gathered across the state to show solidarity with immigrant and refugee families while demanding action from a Congress that has left communities in limbo for months.
These events included a vigil outside the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln and at Memorial Park in Omaha, where community members gathered to urge Congress to “Stop Playing Games” and protect immigrant youth and families now.
Nearly 3,400 young Nebraskans — commonly known as “Dreamers” — who work, go to school, and have grown up in our communities face imminent threat as Congress has failed to act before the President’s Monday deadline to end their legal protections.
Among the solutions Nebraskans have been calling for is passing the “DREAM Act of 2017,” a bill that would allow Dreamers and people who are similarly situated to continue working, attending school, and leading communities in the only country they know as home while creating a path for them to eventually earn U.S. citizenship.
“In the current situation of worry thousands of us Dreamers are facing, I choose strength over defeat and joy over despair. I believe in me, in us, and in all that we contribute to the country we love and see as home. Let’s make it heard that we are only getting started and we are here to stay,” said Nebraska Dreamer Lidia Diaz.
“There are some people who believe that I am not an American because I wasn’t born here, even when I have spent almost all my life here,” said Nebraska Dreamer Pumulo Kasaji. “My life begins here. My life is here. This IS my home.”
“We are not going anywhere because this is our home. We are just like you and your neighbor. People forget this is an issue of basic human rights. We deserve to live in peace, go to school, and follow our dreams,” said Nebraska Dreamer Amor Habbab. “We are ready to fight for freedom and full equality for our undocumented community.”
Diaz and Kasaji addressed the crowd at the Omaha vigil at the Memorial Park. Habbab, along with other Nebraska Dreamers and advocates, including Centro Hispano are currently in Washington, D.C. to personally appeal to Nebraska’s members of Congress to support the DREAM Act with no further delay and to participate in advocacy efforts including the Enough Political Games: Protect Immigrant Youth Now! Rally with United We Dream.
Nebraska refugee families and families with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) also face uncertainty. The Trump Administration recently announced the end of TPS for Nebraskans from several countries, potentially forcing them to return to countries that are still too dangerous and unstable. Like Dreamers, there is no way for TPS families who have lived and built lives in Nebraska for decades to apply for permanent immigration status until Congress takes action.
“We are gathered here today to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are DACA recipients and in support of the refugees and immigrant population in the state of Nebraska,” said Dekow Sagar, a Refugee Nebraskan and Community Advocate.
“America has always been a diverse place, where people from different backgrounds, different races, different religions, different creeds, and political affiliations coexisted peacefully and thrived in pursuit of American Dreams.”
Co-sponsors of the Lincoln and Omaha events include: Define American – UNL Chapter, College of Saint Mary, Heartland Workers Center, Immigrant Legal Center, Nebraska Cattlemen, Omaha Together One Community, Schlegel Center for Service & Justice, Nebraska Appleseed, ACLU of Nebraska, OneWorld Community Health Centers Inc., Refugee Empowerment Center, and others.
Coinciding with the Lincoln and Omaha vigils, communities across the state and country held actions on March 4 and 5. These included:
- Columbus: Centro Hispano traveled participated in the United We Dream national March 5 rally in Washington, D.C.
- Lexington – “We All Belong,” a community gathering with Dreamers documentary screening on March 4.
- Crete – Screening of “We Are Dreamers” documentary, telling the stories of young Nebraska Dreamers. Monday, March 5, 7:00 p.m., Doane University.
For more information, photos, and interview requests, contact Immigrant Legal Center Communications and Development Assistant Magdalena Cazarez at 402.898.1349 ex. 125 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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