FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
HISPANIC HERITAGE FOUNDATION SUPPORTS NATION’S CAPITAL MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER’S ‘DREAMer DAY’ PROCLAMATION & CALL ON CONGRESS TO PASS A CLEAN DREAM ACT
Mayor also Calls on Department of Homeland Security and State Department to extend the Temporary Protected Status designation for El Salvador and Honduras
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, with the support of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF), District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed December 6, 2017 “DREAMer Day” in Washington, DC. In August, the Mayor joined Cities for Action in calling on President Trump to defend DREAMers. The next month, when the President announced plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Mayor reaffirmed the District’s support for DREAMers and called on Congress to quickly pass the DREAM Act. This week, Mayor Bowser is once again joining leaders and residents across the country in calling on Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act.
“Washington, DC stands with our DREAMers, and today, I once again join leaders across the country in calling on Congress to quickly pass a clean Dream Act,” said Mayor Bowser. “DREAMers are veterans, business owners, and students. The United States is their home, and they are helping build a safer, stronger, and more prosperous country for all. This is not a partisan issue; Republicans and Democrats agree – Congress must pass the DREAM Act immediately.” (Visit http://bit.ly/2AC7yRm to see official proclamation)
HHF is supporting mayors in major cities to declare DREAMer Days through the end of the year in support of a clean DREAM Act and for TPS to be extended for countries in need of the protection including El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, among others. More announcements are forthcoming. HHF’s campaign, which will include a video of the National Anthem featuring DREAMers and performed by Grammy Award-Nominees Locos por Juana, is under #WeDreamAmerica.
“We applaud Mayor Bowser for recognizing the great contributions DREAMers make in Washington, DC, and across the country,” said Jose Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. “When I immigrated to the United States from Nicaragua as a child, I landed in the Nation’s Capital, which makes the Mayor’s proclamation even more significant to me. Our organization was also founded in Washington, DC. We are proud to honor the ‘DREAMers’ for their collective strength, hope and grace. They represent the spirit of perseverance and ganas every single day as they remain poised to make a positive impact on our city and country through the workforce, community service and economic impact.”
Dreamers are more than a million undocumented youth living in the United States having arrived before turning 16 and having lived in America continuously since June of 2007 – ranging in age between 15-35. Most Dreamers are from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras with the biggest numbers of Dreamers living in California, Texas, Florida and New York.
Dreamers are projected to represent more than a quarter of a trillion dollars in economic growth, $280 billion, over the next decade. A recent survey found that 95 percent of all Dreamers are currently working or in school.
In addition, for calling on Congress to pass a clean Dream Act, Mayor Bowser also calls on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. State Department to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for El Salvador and Honduras by 18 months. Both countries face status expiration in 2018, and both nations continue to deal with devastating violence. With more than 32,000 TPS recipients, the DC region has the largest population of El Salvadoran recipients in the nation. If TPS expires for these nations, many TPS recipients will return to nations that are not prepared to accommodate a large influx of residents.
In January 2017, Mayor Bowser announced that her Administration would provide funding to community-based organizations, private organizations, associations, and law firms that do legal work for immigrants in Washington, DC through a newly created Immigrant Justice Legal Services (IJLS) grant program. Since launching the program, the Administration has provided one million dollars to organizations that:
- help DC residents convert green cards to citizenship;
- renew DACA applications and work permits for DC residents;
- conduct Know Your Rights briefings and workshops;
- help prepare asylum applications and provide legal representation at hearings for DC residents;
- represent DC residents in deportation proceedings;
- protect financial assets and custody for DC children in the face of potential deportation of parents or guardians;
- help people and businesses conduct affairs through ITIN numbers;
- file any lawsuits that may become necessary to challenging the use of DACA applications for finding or deporting undocumented persons;
- help file applications for S, T, U and Special Immigrant Juvenile visas for DC residents or family members of DC residents; and
- provide legal help for family reunification efforts for families with at least one DC resident.
The District’s IJLS program has become a national model for providing legal services that relate to immigrant justice. In addition to providing a wide range of services, in under a year, IJLS grantees have hosted 28 Know Your Rights Sessions, serving over 865 individuals; trained more than 300 attorneys; supported 40 citizenship applications; and helped file 58 asylum cases.
In addition to the IJLS grant program, last month, Mayor Bowser announced a new partnership between DC Government and National Immigration Forum, a non-profit group, that will make citizenship services more readily available for DC Government employees, their families, and hundreds of others who live or work in Washington, DC. The partnership will help thousands of District residents who want to become American citizens go through the naturalization process.
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation inspires, prepares, and connects minority leaders in the classroom, community, and workforce to meet America’s priorities. HHF also promotes cultural pride, accomplishment, and the great promise of the community through public awareness campaigns seen by millions. HHF is headquartered in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles with satellite workspaces in New York, Silicon Valley, San Antonio, and Miami (Visit www.HispanicHeritage.org). Follow HHF on Facebook and Twitter.
Contact: Isla Martinez, 626.814.5006