A Walkout for the Dream Act event has been planned for Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in front of the Clark Library at the University of Portland.
Thursday, Nov. 9 has been declared by , an immigrant youth-led nonprofit organization, and in Washington D.C., “Dream Defenders” will walk out of their schools and offices to descend on the Capitol and demand that Congress implement a clean Dream Act.
A clean Dream Act would offer protection and not punishment to parents who brought young children, now called Dreamers, across the border without documentation, and would offer a pathway to citizenship that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, does not include.
“Dream Defenders” across the nation will join in this movement — at UP, there will be a table set up outside of the library from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. where students can learn more about what a clean Dream Act might look like, and get tips for calling their representatives to advocate for one.
In particular, sophomore Macey Bishop and senior Emma Martinez are encouraging students to target Oregon’s Second District . Although UP is not in Walden’s district, Bishop said she still feels it is important for students to call, tweet and send letters to his office because of his role as a Republican leader in Oregon.
Walden, of The American Health Care Act in the House, issued a statement in support of President Donald Trump’s DACA rescindment. Walden pushed for a permanent solution in Congress, although he did not directly allude to a clean Dream Act, rather he called for Congress to “secure our borders and fix our flawed immigration system.”
“Like all Americans, I have compassion for those who entered our country unlawfully as children and are now in limbo in our immigration system,” Walden said. “These are kids who know no other country as their home and were brought here through no fault of their own at a young age. It is up to Congress to find a permanent solution.”
“By holding this event on UP's campus, we are acting in solidarity with the 800,000 undocumented youth who are losing their DACA protections,” Bishop said. “We are hoping that this event shows Congress that folks are coming together to demand a clean Dream Act.”
Bishop, a communication studies major, and Martinez, a social work major, worked with the Oregon DACA Coalition to organize this event in hopes of continuing the conversation about immigration reform on campus, and encouraging students to take action — the 2017 U.S. Congressional session ends on Dec. 15.
“I hope that students recognize that this fight does not end here, nor did it begin with the DACA roll back,” Bishop said. “We are fighting a long battle for equity and justice.”