For Immediate Release: September 8, 2021
Contact: Michael Earls: [email protected]
Gaby Pacheco Op-Ed in Newsweek: “After 2 Decades, Now is the Time for Citizenship for Dreamers”
Twenty Years After the First DREAM Act was Introduced, Gaby Pacheco Makes the Case for why Now is the Time for Citizenship for Dreamers
Washington, DC – Gaby Pacheco, Director of Advocacy, Communications and Development for TheDream.US, has authored a new op-ed in Newsweek.
Titled, “After 2 Decades, Now is the Time for Citizenship for Dreamers,” the op-ed notes that, “Poll after poll finds that approximately 70 percent of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, support programs like DACA and citizenship for long-settled immigrants such as Dreamers. Every year the DREAM Act has been introduced in a bipartisan way,” and calls for passage of legislation that would provide citizenship for Dreamers and long-settled immigrants by noting that, “America will be stronger when everyone has opportunities to succeed and fully participate in our shared country.”
Below, find additional excerpts of the op-ed and read the full version online at Newsweek here.
By Gaby Pacheco
“It’s true that now is the time to finally deliver citizenship for Dreamers. It’s been long overdue for two decades.
Through all the trials, tribulations and breakthroughs, Dreamers have been told that our time was coming. That Congress would soon deliver a permanent fix. Instead of waiting passively for that day, we stood up; we spoke out; we organized. And through each opportunity afforded to us, we have proven that when Dreamers and other immigrants have chances to succeed, we gratefully seize those opportunities.
…Twenty years ago, in 2001, the first DREAM Act was introduced by a bipartisan duo—Senators Orrin Hatch and Dick Durbin.
Twelve years ago, in 2009, I set out on the Trail of Dreams, a walk from Miami to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness of the plight of Dreamers.
Eleven years ago, in 2010, I watched and cried from the Senate balcony as the DREAM Act received 55 votes in the Senate but failed to become law due to a filibuster.
Nine years ago, in 2012, I cheered when former President Barack Obama announced DACA—a life-changing program hard-won by Dreamers’ advocacy that provided protections from deportation, work permits and new opportunities for immigrant youth.
Four years ago, in 2017, I feared for my friends, family and our TheDream.US scholars when the Trump administration announced its intentions to end the DACA program.
And last year, in June 2020, I celebrated when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration’s attempt to unwind DACA was unlawful.
…At TheDream.US, the country’s biggest scholarship provider for immigrant youth, we have seen firsthand how expanding opportunities for Dreamers benefits not just individuals and their families, but all of us. Today, you can find Dreamers in classrooms teaching children, in hospitals caring for the sick, as business leaders running companies and employing citizens.
We’ve also seen how a lack of access to DACA in recent years has particularly affected younger Dreamers. Largely due to their inability to apply into the DACA program during the Trump era, only about one-fourth of our newest class of TheDream.US scholars for this 2021-22 academic year had active DACA status at the time of their application.
…We call ourselves “Dreamers” for a reason. None of us have ever stopped dreaming. But we need Congress to deliver—on behalf of DACA recipients, younger and older Dreamers lacking DACA protections and millions of other long-settled immigrants. America will be stronger when everyone has opportunities to succeed and fully participate in our shared country. Now, finally, should be the time.”
TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college and career success program for immigrant youth, having provided more than 7,500 college scholarships to DREAMers attending over 75 partner colleges in 19 states and Washington, DC. We believe that all young Americans, regardless of where they were born, should have the opportunity to get a college education and pursue a meaningful career that contributes to our country’s future.