Today will be the last chance for Congress to help thousands and thousands not lose their ability to live, work, and contribute to the only country they’ve ever known. The United States government will be deciding the future of tens of thousands of Dreamers and people who can benefit from a Dream Act today. With the fear of deportation now looming over the heads of all DACA participants who are hoping for major immigration reform, thousands will mobilize across the United States today demanding the passage of the Dream Act.
Including right here in Madison, Wisconsin.
“We’ve been working on this action hoping to bring people out to the state Capitol and demand for a DREAM act now,” rally organizer Karen Perez-Wilson tells Madison365. “The government has until today to pass the DREAM act. We want the state of Wisconsin to show our government here in Wisconsin that we know what’s going on and that we will stay and continue to fight and be on the right side of history.
“This action today is going to be led by immigrants and a lot of the folks who will be speaking will be sharing their stories,” Perez-Wilson adds. “We’re opening up space and giving undocumented youth a platform to let their stories be heard.”
The plan is for community members to converge on the Wisconsin State Capitol today at 1:30 p.m. Perez-Wilson has been organizing the event along with community leaders including Selina Armenta, Jennifer Blanco, and Laura Minero.
“We just saw a tremendous need and we decided to get this organized,” Perez-Wilson says. “Unfortunately, I only have 7 days left under DACA protection. The community can’t wait. I can’t wait. Our lives are hanging by a thread and politicians need to see that we are human. For many of us, this could be our death sentence. If we get deported, it’s not safe in our countries of origin. We need to take action.”
Perez-Wilson says that the state of Wisconsin plays a very important role in the immigration debate. “We have Paul Ryan, who is not only a representative but also the Speaker of the House, and he has the power to put that DREAM Act on the floor for a vote and to support our undocumented youth in this process,” she says. “He really needs to step up to his leadership role.”
Across the United States today, thousands of immigrant leaders will be taking action to demand that Democrats and Republicans withhold their vote from any spending bill that does not include a Dream Act.
“Today, immigrant youths, activists and organizers from all over the country are going to be having actions and demonstrations pushing for a DREAM Act,” Perez-Wilson says. “We’re hoping to hear something today and, of course, the last thing we want is for the government to shut down.
“I’m really hoping our community will show up because so far, since September, 16,398 have lost status and DACA protection and are now at risk for deportation,” she adds. “In seven days, I will be one of them. It’s very surreal.”
A DREAM Act would cover 3 million undocumented youth. “We’re pushing for it to be as clean as possible which means that we will not negotiate with our lives or the livelihoods of our communities and our families,” she says.
“We have a lot of DACA recipients in the state of Wisconsin. Our state is The Dairy State, and our immigrant community is the backbone of our state,” Perez-Wilson says. “Without them, our economy would collapse. There would be no one to keep the dairy industry going. But beyond the labor, we can’t forget that we are human.”
For those interested in attending the rally today, it will all kick off at 1:30 pm in the Capitol rotunda. Children are welcomed and encouraged to attend.
“There will be speakers. We are all encouraging people to bring their own supplies and bring their own posters. The emphasis is pushing for a DREAM Act,” Perez-Wilson says. “Unfortunately, DACA is over so our focus now is on the DREAM ACT. We’re hoping to see a lot of people out today. We are standing on the right side of history.”