A group of young people, as part of United We Dream, inspired a CWLA crowd at Thursday morning’s plenary, to go to Capitol Hill in support of fixing the current DACA gridlock by passing the DREAMERS Act.

Sanaa Abrar, Policy Director for United We Dream was joined on the panel by Claudia Quinonez, Gerson Quinteros, Ambar Pinto, and Aurea Galvin, all DACA eligible young people. In addition to their education, they serve as advocates and coordinators to assist other DACA eligible young people. They each had a chance to describe to a hushed-CWLA crowd how they came to the United States as children. They shared the hopes and dreams that the United States represents both for them and their families. They also discussed the threats and the trauma they have faced despite successfully navigating their way through school and college.

One of CWLA’s key talking points for Capitol Hill visits (Protect the Dreamers) is to get Congress to act on DREAMERS legislation. The Dreamers Act or Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2017 would grant DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) beneficiaries permanent resident status on a conditional basis. Conditions include passing a background check and medical exam, entering the United States before the age of 18, and having been continuously present in the United States since at least four years before enactment. Dreamers must also meet educational requirements, including having been admitted to a college, university, or other institution of higher learning; having earned a high school diploma or general education development (GED) certificate; or currently being enrolled in a secondary education program to obtain a high school diploma or GED certificate. Dreamers cannot have been convicted of criminal offenses.

Almost nine million young children under the age of 8 live in a family of immigrants with one or more members who are foreign-born. Young children in these families, a growing segment of children in the United States, comprise 26% of all children under age 8.

Currently a federal court has put DACA’s elimination on hold. The courts have directed the Administration to come up with a response within the next three months and to explain why the Court should not fully re-impose DACA as established by President Barrack Obama in 2012.