DES MOINES, IOWA (February 5, 2021)  Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) re-introduced the Dream Act. The bill provides a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 2 million people, including current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and those eligible to apply for DACA. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Iowa — an advocacy and legal services organization that has worked for immigrant and refugee rights in Iowa for 25 years applauded the decision.

“A pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients is popular across the board and because of the advocacy led by Dreamers, many Congresspeople have listened and learned,” said Alejandro Murguia-Ortiz, community organizer with AFSC Iowa. “When passed, this must be a clean DREAM Act. We are fully opposed to any provisions that would increase immigration enforcement, reduce immigration, or further militarize border regions.”

Since the DACA program was announced by an executive order in 2012, AFSC has been involved in helping people apply for the program, providing know-your-rights information, protesting threats to the program from the Trump administration, and advocating for humane policy change, and mobilizing to support legislation creating a roadmap to citizenship for all.

“The struggle for undocumented immigrants in this country has only been amplified due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Securing protections for all undocumented immigrants will guarantee access to health-care and stable employment,” said Cecilia Martinez, Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice (Iowa MMJ) board member and DACA recipient. “These are matters of life and death, as we have already seen our communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic.”

There is still much work to be done. Immigrants' rights advocates have been clear: Our ultimate goal is to create a roadmap to citizenship for ALL 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, as called for in President Biden’s day one immigration bill. Legalization — for Dreamers and for all undocumented immigrants — enjoys strong majority support. According to a just-released Quinnipiac poll, by a margin of 83%-12% Americans support allowing undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children to remain in the United States and eventually apply for citizenship. Congress must act quickly to pass a “clean” DREAM Act and work to provide permanent residency and a pathway to citizenship for all.

AFSC Iowa (soon to be Iowa MMJ) and Iowa Dream Coalition will be hosting a Zoom and Facebook live discussion, Iowa Dreamers will share their reactions and discuss the work that still needs to be done at 1PM on Friday, February 5. Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the meeting.

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.

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