Black Civil Rights leaders on Wednesday called on Congress to pass the DREAM Act without amendment, saying that Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will be a “grave injustice” that will adversely affect more than 8,000 Tennesseans.
Tennessee State Conference NAACP president Gloria Sweet-Love made the push for the Dream Act during a press call with other civil rights leaders. Speakers urged Republican Tennessee senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander to immediately vote for a clean version of the DREAM act.
“We must not allow [the] Trump administration to renege on a government promise for our country,” Sweet-Love said. “We support passing a clean DREAM act in 2017 without amendment.”
Knoxville Area Urban League president and CEO Phyllis Nichols echoed Sweet-Love’s sentiments. “‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,'” Nichols said, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “The Urban League will stand with our dreamers.”
While attention has been paid mostly to undocumented Hispanic workers, the DACA issue is just as critical for Black undocumented workers . Approximately 36,000 immigrants of African origin were immediately eligible for DACA, the NAACP reports. More than 20,000 young people from the Caribbean nations of Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are also DACA eligible.
Trump announced his decision to end DACA on September 5 in another attempt to walk back Obama-era policies. With DACA at risk, Nichols believes the livelihood of DACA recipients is also in jeopardy.
“Losing their status means young Tennesseans lose the right to live freely,” Nichols said. “We need to act now because there’s no time to lose.”