Thousands Protest On Capitol Hill To Demand New Dream Act

"Will always stand with the #Dreamers but today especially."

In September, the current administration formally rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Obama-era initiative has made it possible for nearly 800,000 undocumented children of immigrants to live, work, go to school, or serve in the American military without fear of deportation, but now their futures are in jeopardy unless Congress acts and passes a new law that would permanently protect them.

In an effort to get such a piece of legislation passed, thousands of DACA recipients and supporters protested on Capitol Hill on November 9. The protest took place in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., and drew a spirited crowd of people who wish to see their lives safeguarded with a new Dream Act that would replace DACA, which officially ends on March 5, 2018.

As noted by Mashable, crowds of people demanded Congress take action before it's too late. Check out some video clips and photos from the protest below, including several from members of Congress who came out in support of the Dreamers:





As you can see, protesters held their fists up as a sign of strength and solidarity, and chanted for a "Dream Act now." Unfortunately, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has said he won't even put any immigration bills to a vote without the support of at least half his conference, which is highly unlikely.

Though the Republicans, who are largely opposed to the Dream Act, control both houses of Congress, Democrats have some leverage in that Republicans need their votes to pass a government spending bill. Without such a bill, we'd be headed for a government shutdown, so several Democrats are using this as a way to force a vote on a clean Dream Act. In fact, per The Hill, some 25 Democrats have already signed a letter stating they will not vote for a government spending bill unless Congress moves to protect the Dreamers. 

While thousands made their voices heard in and around the Capitol, others across the country held protests of their own. NBC News reports students all over the nation staged walkouts in solidarity, some of which you can see below:

In a Center for American Progress survey of roughly 3,000 DACA recipients, 97 percent of respondents said they are currently employed or enrolled in school, and 16 percent noted they purchased their first home after receiving DACA, meaning they are stimulating the American economy. The Center for American Progress also estimated the U.S. would lose about $460 billion in GDP over the next ten years without DACA. 

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