***For Immediate Release***
November 14, 2017
Contact, Ismael Valadez
Phone: (712) 389-0287
Siouxland leaders, organizations support local DREAMers
Leaders call for urgent Congressional action to protect hard-working young immigrants important to the fabric of Siouxland communities
SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. - Today, South Sioux City civic, business, education, and community leaders released a joint letter urging Nebraska U.S. Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse, and U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith (NE-3) to support the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017 and protect young immigrant Nebraskans who grew up in the Siouxland area and now give back to their communities as teachers, health care workers, and other professions.
The outpouring of support comes as DREAMers - young immigrant Nebraskans who grew up in our communities - face an urgent threat. On September 5 the Trump Administration announced it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in March 2017. DACA protected DREAMers from deportation and allowed them to attend school and work in their home communities. The announcement instantly created extreme uncertainty for Nebraska families, businesses, and communities, including in the Siouxland area.
There are more than 800,000 DREAMers in the U.S., including more than 3,000 in Nebraska, nearly 3,000 in Iowa, and more than 500 in South Dakota.
“I am deeply saddened by the decision of this administration to strip away the opportunity and protection that DACA has given to thousands of young adults in our area. As a teacher, I have witnessed first hand the determination and character of so many young people who have lived here, gone to school here, and invested in a future here. Today, they are not only students, but also teachers, business owners, young professionals, home owners, community volunteers and so much more. I have watched as DACA recipients have worked hard to prove that their parents made the right decision by bringing them here as children. Ending DACA would essentially erase all that they know and cause these young people to be in limbo about their future and also their contributions to our community. For me, that is unacceptable,” said Carmen Stark, Adjunct Instructor at Northeast Community College.
DREAMers have a long history of contributing to Nebraska’s communities, a fact recognized by civic, business, agriculture, faith, and education leaders across the state. A group of more than 70 such leaders signed a letter to Nebraska’s Congressional delegation this year, asking them to put the protections of DACA into federal law to preserve stability for DREAMers, their families, and local communities. Nebraska’s universities, additional legislators, and the Nebraska Catholic Conference have signed similar letters.
“We need our Nebraska members of Congress to act now and support the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017. This issue affects many local families that have called South Sioux City their home for most of their lives. Many DACA recipients have graduated for our local schools, have pursued a higher education, and are currently contributing to our local economy, “said Ismael Valadez, President of Unity in Action.
Ending DACA with no immediate action by Congress would come at an enormous social cost of separating Nebraska families. It also would have severe implications for our state economy. Nebraska would lose $144 million each year in economic output if DACA was ended, as part of a national GDP loss of $433 billion over the next 10 years.
The bipartisan “Dream Act of 2017,” endorsed by these South Sioux City leaders, would benefit Siouxland communities by allowing local residents covered by DACA and other similarly situated to be protected against being deported and have a way to apply for immigration status.
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