Local Civil Rights Leaders and TN Dreamer Urged Congress to Immediately Pass a Clean Dream Act

Categories: Immigration, Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Contact: Shin Inouye, 202.869.0398, inouye@civilrights.org

Tennessee – Today, Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus, policy director for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC); Dulce Castro, DACA recipient and freshman nursing student at Cumberland University; Gloria Sweet-Love, president for the Tennessee State Conference NAACP; Phyllis Nichols, president and CEO for the Knoxville Area Urban League; and Warren Logan, president and CEO for the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, participated on a telephone press briefing to call on Congress to act immediately and pass a clean bipartisan Dream Act.

President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was a grave injustice against nearly 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to this country as children and have grown up in the United States. After the president’s cruel action, it’s now up to Congress to fix this manufactured crisis without any amendments that could harm the young individuals who make our country stronger every day.

Today’s call also comes on the heels of a letter that 186 civil and human rights groups sent to Congress earlier this month.

A recording of today’s call is available here.

Participants in the call spoke out on the urgent need for Congress to act:

Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus, policy director for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC): ” Senators Corker and Alexander have suggested that protections for immigrant youth should only come in exchange for pieces of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda. The futures of 8,300+ Tennesseans shouldn’t be used as political bargaining chips. Congress must act swiftly to pass stand alone legislation that provides an earned pathway to citizenship. There must be no gap in protection.”

Dulce Castro, DACA recipient and freshman nursing student at Cumberland University: “This fall I started my freshman year of college, but instead of the normal anxieties about class schedules and meeting new people, I’m worried about my future in the country I call home. Senators Corker and Alexander should act quickly to pass a clean, stand alone Dream Act to protect thousands of Tennesseans like me. If they do, I can focus on becoming a nurse and not worry about whether or not I’ll be deported.”

Gloria Sweet-Love, president for the Tennessee State Conference NAACP: “Some of our most vulnerable residents are those that are members of DACA. They are young, undocumented immigrants (often poor), who are primarily people of color. To remove protection for these young people, after a promise of protection, is nothing less than a travesty! We must not allow the Trump administration to renege on the governments promise for these valued members of our community.”

Phyllis Nichols, president and CEO for the Knoxville Area Urban League: “In Tennessee, over 8,300 young people have applied for and been granted DACA. Some DACA recipients are in school (high school, college, graduate) while others are professionals. DACA recipients are educators, lawyers, engineers, and employees across all sectors. Losing DACA means that thousands of Tennesseans lose the right to live and work freely. As Attorney General Slatery said in his letter withdrawing from the lawsuit against DACA, there is a “human element” to the threat to end DACA, and we must not lose focus on what this means for the humanity and future of young people.”

Warren Logan, president and CEO for the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga: “The approximate 8,000 TN Dreamers are a rich and strong part of our communities. They bring value, commitment, integrity as our partners, friends and colleagues. They have earned and can rest assured of our support in helping to protect and defend them from harmful policy decisions.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of approximately 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference, visit www.civilrights.org.