On Saturday, Sens. Blumenthal and Murphy and Rep. Himes attended a roundtable discussion held by immigrants’ rights organization CT Students For A DREAM. This event took place as the immigration debate heats up at the federal level and days before Obama will give a speech in Las Vegas to launch a broad push for immigration reform.
There are currently 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. As Hispanic voters comprise an increasing share of the electorate, lawmakers recognize an increasing need to overhaul the country’s immigration laws.
“What happened in November was important, it showed us that immigration reform cannot be a partisan issue, we have to work together,” said Himes, according to a press release from the organization.
“Politicians now see the political power that rooms like this have, that the immigrant community has,” said Murphy.
The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education For Alien Minors) Act, which was first proposed in 2001, would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented students who come to the country at a young age if they attend college or serve in the military. Last June, President Obama halted deportations of DREAM Act-eligible youth under a program called Deferred Action, but immigration reform advocates are calling for more.
“Yes, yes we are DREAMers, yes we have Deferred Action – but this is not enough. Our families, our communities need and deserve a pathway to citizenship and safety,” said Danilo Machado, CT Students for a DREAM.
“I applaud the president on Deferred Action, but it’s not enough,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “We are nation of immigrants and we should be welcoming those people who come here.”