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NBC News: Dreamers urge for protections in Senate hearing on immigrant youth

May 8, 2024, 11:02 AM EDT / Updated May 8, 2024, 12:14 PM EDT

By Nicole Acevedo

As immigration policies take center stage in the nation’s political debate and the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program remains uncertain, senators are holding a hearing Wednesday on the “urgent need to protect immigrant youth,” according to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The occasion has prompted 1,636 scholars and alumni of TheDream.US, an organization helping DACA recipients and other undocumented immigrant youths known as Dreamers go to college, to sign a letter urging Congress to “provide us with the opportunity to pursue a path to U.S. citizenship naturalization.”

“Such action will provide certainty to our families and communities and strengthen our nation’s economy by ensuring the future of a vital, vibrant workforce,” the letter, first shared with NBC News, reads.

Other organizations such as evangelical and educational groups have also shared letters of support ahead of the hearing.

Gaby Pacheco, an education leader and president of TheDream.US, is one of five witnesses who spoke at the hearing. She advocated for legislation that would give a pathway to legalization to young immigrant adults who’ve spent most of their lives in the U.S., something that polls have shown has broad support.

“The reality is that more than ever, without bipartisanship, we’re not going to be able to get anything done,” Pacheco told NBC News in a phone interview ahead of her testimony.

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