Chiera: Stand With Immigrant Youth and #DefendDACA

Barchi Pallone Diaz DREAMers LEC 090517 w480This morning, I was proud to stand with DACA recipients who are high school and college students, my Mayor Wilda Diaz, my Congressman Frank Pallone, Rutgers President Robert Barchi, faith leaders and a host of community, immigration and human rights advocates to call for justice for immigrant children brought to this country. They came as babies, infants and some teenagers. Now President Trump announced he is ending DACA in six months and recipients are in danger.

Many only know New Jersey communities where they grew up and have no frame of reference for their countries of birth. This morning, I told them that as a classroom teacher in Perth Amboy, we always welcomed the student and no ever asked “Where is your Green Card?” We only sought to educate the child, work with the familes and welcome them.

We received the following message from Randi Weingarten asking us to sign the petition to call on Congress to pass the Dream Act of 2017. At least one local, Rutgers AAUP-AFT, has resolved to condemn the cancellation of DACA, engage in solidarity actions like this one tomorrow “NJ Defends DACA #DefundHate” to stand with DACA recipients and for the university to offer “material and legal support” to students whose immigration status is threatened.

Those with DACA status are not illegals or aliens. They are our students, colleagues, neighbors and friends. They are part of our communities, churches and schools. They pay taxes and are consumers. DACA individuals take care of us in hospitals and serve in our military. They deserve respect and dignity. Dreamers believe in the American dream. I believe in our Dreamers.