Earlier this week, President Trump asked Republicans in Congress to pass his plan to provide a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants, in exchange for billions of dollars in funding for border security and efforts to reduce legal immigration.
The politically fraught measure faces an uncertain future - many conservatives oppose giving legal status to some immigrants, including those here under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. And many Democrats believe the measure does not go far enough for immigrants, some of whom have been in the United States for decades.
Milwaukee-based Voces de la Frontera will hold a rally outside House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Racine office on Saturday, February 3 to call attention to their opposition. It is a very personal issue for Valeria Ruiz Lira of Racine, who is a Dreamer. She works as an organizer for Voces de la Frontera.
Now 21, Ruiz Lira was about three or four years old when her father brought her to the U.S. to meet her mother who was already here. "They wanted to give me the opportunities they didn't have, like education, job opportunities, to escape from violence," she says. "I now have a 10 year old U.S. citizen sister."
She says she received DACA from its inception. "I have never worked without a work permit or social security. Maybe I would have to go back to working in a factory, somewhere where I'm not making a living wage. I would no longer have a driver's license, so I'd be at a threat of being stopped all the time."
Ruiz Lira provides transportation for her parents' and sister's basic needs like doctor's appointments. "I could not imagine what it would be like if they were to take away my ability to work and provide and contribute," she says, adding that she'd be at risk of being deported if DACA was terminated.
While listening to President Trump's State of the Union address, Christine Neuman-Ortiz, Voces de la Frontera executive director, says, "I was really struck by the lack of concessions on the part of the far-right.. It's a dangerous moment that we're in, and people really need to be aware of the danger. The Dream Act is being used as a Trojan horse to pretend there's some humanity there, when what's being offered in exchange is really a reign of terror."