Last night, Congress voted to deport immigrant youth.

The House and Senate have adjourned for the year, after passing a spending deal that didn't include the Dream Act. By failing to include the Dream Act, Congress is allowing thousands of immigrant youth to lose their DACA and become vulnerable to deportation. Each day, 122 DACA recipients lose their protections. Since Trump terminated the program, more than 13,000 of us have lost our DACA.

We're grateful that Representatives Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) and Jim Cooper (D-Nashville), voted against the continuing resolution. We are deeply disappointed that Senators Alexander and Corker and the rest of our House delegation cast a vote in support of the continuing resolution that didn't protect immigrant youth like me from deportation.

Between now and when the temporary spending deal they passed expires on January 19th, another 3,500 of us will lose our status. That's why we can't give up now.

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Last night I met with 30 immigrant youth from six Tennessee cities. We shared our heartbreak and our outrage that Congress had voted to deport us, but we also celebrated the power of our movement and the resilience of our community.

Since the president launched his attack on DACA our movement has grown bigger and stronger. We've held actions all over the state and this week we joined more than 1,000 immigrant youth from across the country to take over the halls of Congress. 

We understand the urgency of this moment, and we won't stop fighting for our futures. We'll do everything in our power to make sure that Congress passes the Dream Act as a part of the budget deal on January 19th.

We'll need you to show up for our actions and to keep putting pressure on our Members of Congress to do the right thing. In the meantime, here are two ways you can support our fight for the Dream Act:

1. Share my story. In today's Tennessean, I wrote about how high the stakes are for DACA recipients like me. Share my story on your social media and urge your friends to join our fight for the Dream Act. You can also read the op-ed in full below.

2. Invest in our work. We need to keep up the pressure on Congress throughout the holidays and until they cast another budget vote on January 19th. Can you make a donation today to support our Dream Act campaign?


My Christmas Wish: Pass the Dream Act

By Cesar Bautista Sanchez, for the Tennessean

Last Christmas was perfect. It was my daughter’s first and we were happily celebrating in our new home that we had just purchased in La Vergne. Our future was bright.

This Christmas, I’m counting the days until the protections granted to me by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program expire and I’ll be at risk of being separated from my daughter.

I’m one of the 200,000 DACA recipients nationally who are parents of U.S. citizen children and one of the 16 percent of DACA recipients who own a home.

I’ve lived in Tennessee for 20 years, and I grew up and went to school in Rutherford County. That’s where I met my wife, where we bought our first home, and where we are raising our 21-month-old daughter.  This is home.

DACA has allowed me and more than 8,300 other Tennesseans to have a sense of security and to imagine a better future for ourselves here. But since President Trump terminated the DACA program in September, my life and my family’s future here have been thrown into jeopardy.

When my DACA expires, I’ll lose my job and struggle to pay my mortgage and provide for my daughter’s future. There are nearly 800,000 young immigrants who have been protected by DACA and whose futures hang in the balance.

To solve the crisis created by DACA’s termination, a bipartisan group in Congress has introduced the Dream Act of 2017, which would restore opportunities for young immigrants like me and allow us to get on an earned pathway to citizenship.

Poll after poll finds that Americans overwhelmingly support legislation like the Dream Act. Most recently, a CBS News poll found that 84 percent of Americans think “Dreamers,” as beneficiaries of the act are typically called, deserve to stay in the country. But, despite the fact that DACA is both incredibly successful and popular, Congress has failed to take action.

The president and some in Congress have erroneously claimed that Congress has until March 5 to take action to protect DACA recipients. In the more than three months since President Trump terminated the DACA program, over 12,250 young immigrants have already lost their protections, lost their jobs and have been put at risk of deportation.

Each day that Congress fails to pass the Dream Act, another 122 young immigrants’ DACA protections will expire.

The more than 8,300 DACA recipients in Tennessee and their families cannot wait until next year to find a solution. We need Congress to pass the Dream Act before Christmas by attaching it to the year-end spending deal.

Failing to vote on the Dream Act by year's end will mean thousands more DACA recipients will be at risk of deportation. Any vote on a deal that fails to include protections for DACA recipients is a vote to deport immigrant youth.

Congress is set to adjourn by Dec. 22 so that members of Congress can return to their families. If they fail to pass the Dream Act, thousands of families in Tennessee will spend their Christmas worrying about their futures here.

Congress, instead of sending our wish list to Santa, my family has a request for you: pass a clean Dream Act by Dec. 22 so that I can have another perfect Christmas with my daughter and so we can plan for many more Christmases together.