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32BJ leader blasts Trump and GOP over lack of Dreamers deal

Stephon Johnson | 11/9/2017, 12:35 p.m.
Dreamers looking for help from President Donald Trump’s administration have to keep waiting.
Demonstrators protest outside of Trump Tower over DACA

Dreamers looking for help from President Donald Trump’s administration have to keep waiting.

Last week, Trump told Republican senators not to include a solution for Dreamers in their end-of-year spending bill package. Trump’s decree could lead to an eventual resolution of immigration policy or a government shutdown.

Democrats have threatened to withhold support for the GOP’s spending bill unless something is done about undocumented immigrants and immigration in general. Congress has to pass a new spending bill by Dec. 9 or risk shutting down the government. Democrats want an up-or-down vote on the DREAM Act, which would give Dreamers permanent legal protections. The bill has bipartisan support. The president wants to wind down the Obama-era program in 2018.

Trump’s actions met the ire of one union leader.

“It is deeply disappointing that Republicans who created this mess refuse to do anything meaningful to fix it,” said Hector Figueroa, president of SEIU 32BJ, in a statement last week. “Today’s development underscores just how important it is that we pass a clean Dream Act. The 800,000 young Dreamers living in our communities deserve better than delays and inaction from Republicans in Congress. It is more important than ever that Democrats go to the mat to help these Dreamers who have the support of the overwhelming majority of Americans.”

But Figueroa wasn’t the only one angry at the GOP and Trump. A statement signed by dozens of civil rights organizations, including the Arab American Institute, the Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the NAACP, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. and the National Action Network, called for the Republican-led Congress to act now on immigration and not leave lives in limbo.

“Congress has an opportunity to do something positive for the country by passing a bipartisan Dream Act by the end of this year,” read the statement. “Doing so would allow young immigrants to finally be recognized as Americans on paper, allowing them to more fully contribute to their families, communities and the country they call home. The clock is ticking for Congress to do its job: every day, DACA recipients run the risk of losing the work authorization they need to live free from fear of deportation.”

The statement noted that any solution that comes from the Trump administration must not come at the expense of other “aspiring Americans” and demanded Trump stop his fear-mongering to advance his xenophobic agenda.

“President Trump’s latest call for an end to the Diversity Visa program is yet another anti-immigrant proposal grounded in white nationalism,” the statement read. “Policymakers on both sides of the aisle should know better than to try to score cheap political points by punishing an entire class of immigrants. We will not stand for more political scapegoating of immigrants or the pitting of Muslims and immigrants eligible for the diversity visa (many of whom are from Africa and the Caribbean) against Dreamers.”