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Asian-American Protesters Pushing for Dream Act Vote Arrested

Asian-American Protesters Pushing for Dream Act Vote Arrested

Nineteen peaceful Asian-American protestors were arrested and detained Wednesday outside House Speaker Paul Ryan's office on Capital Hill, after calling for him to move the Dream Act to a vote. They were reportedly blocking Ryan's office and charged with "crowding," according to a U.S. Capital Police spokesperson. The Dream Act legislation, currently sitting unaddressed in the House, would protect young undocumented immigrants following Trump's termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

The protestors are demanding a “clean” Dream Act, which would provide a pathway for Dreamers to obtain citizenship without adding measures that would harm other immigrants. Though released the same day, the protesters said they will continue to defend the rights of undocumented immigrants.

“I stood with my sisters and brothers to be arrested today because the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community can no longer stand idly by while Congress and the Trump administration criminalize immigrants and people of color,” said Luisa Blue, one of those arrested and a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO.

The APALA published a press release regarding the arrest as well as the Dream Act for which they are fighting for:

Asian American peaceful protesters were arrested outside of Speaker Ryan’s office demanding that Congress pass a clean DREAM Act before December 8. Protesters blocked the entrance of Speaker Ryan’s office and chanted that the House Leader call a vote to pass a clean DREAM Act.

Three of the individuals arrested provided statements for the release.

Monica Thammarath, APALA National President:

We are ready to put our bodies on the line -- that’s what this was all about. Millions of undocumented working families live in fear of detention and deportation every single day. The Trump administration continues to stoke fear into our immigrant and refugee communities, and today and every day until white supremacists are out of office, we will protect and defend our family, friends, and communities from hate violence, racism, and xenophobia.

John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice:

It’s time to stop using the lives of immigrant youth as a bargaining chip in a cruel game of immigration politics. These fearless protesters represent a much larger and determined Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) population standing with and in support of getting the DREAM Act passed through Congress now

Inhe Choi, Board Member of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium:

I am participating in this civil disobedience for the 22,000 DACA recipients who cannot,” added Inhe Choi, Board Member of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and Executive Director of the HANA Center, an affiliate of NAKASEC. “Over 8,000 young people have lost DACA since September 5 and hundreds lose protection each week Congress does not pass legislation to protect them. We must pass a #cleanDREAMact NOW!

Scrambling to Protect Dreamers from Deportation

The push for the Dream Act became intensified after the Trump administration announced earlier this year that it would be dismantling DACA. Back in September, Senate and House Democratic Leaders announced they had reached a deal with President Trump to protect “Dreamers” from deportation. But Trump later denied any such deal, backtracking on said verbal agreements. Then in October he released to Congress a list of immigration principles that he is demanding in exchange for any deal.

People are not happy how the protestors were treated, nor with Paul Ryan's support of Trump's war on Dreamers.

Paul Ryan better watch out.

There is no doubt that a shadow has been cast over Dreamers.

The deadline for Congress to find another way to protect these Dreamers from deportation is March of next year.

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h/t: Huffington Post, APALA