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The House of Representatives sent the wrong message with a Republican amendment stripping protections from Dreamers, who stories are perfect examples of why we need a comprehensive solution for our broken immigration system.

There are no stories that bring home the hope and optimism of immigration reform more than the stories of “DREAMers.” 

They are productive members of society, brought here as young children, who grew up in our communities and became American in every way but on paper.  And yet, for most of their lives, they’ve had to live in the shadows, barred from giving the full benefit of their talents to the country they love and our economy. 

For the first time last year, they found some relief through the Obama Administration’s deferred action process, but the only way to give DREAMers the peace of mind they need to live productive lives is to fix our broken immigration system through common sense reform.

Unfortunately, a Republican amendment to a spending bill passed by the House yesterday moved in the opposite direction, seeking to strip DREAMers of the protections of the deferred action process.  As Press Secretary Jay Carney said afterwards, “It asks law enforcement to treat these DREAMers the same way as they would violent criminals.  It’s wrong.  It’s not who we are.  And it will not become law.” 

The President remains optimistic about getting reform done, but for those in Congress who need a reminder of why we should encourage DREAMers, and why we should fix our broken immigration system, they should listen to Diana Colon, who met with the President and Vice President in the Oval Office last month along with several other young people:

“All we want to have is that opportunity to fully give back to this country” –that was Diana’s message to the President, and to the rest of America.  Unfortunately, House Republicans sent a very different message back to Dreamers across this country:

Arizona Republic (Valdez): “This shows a very unlikeable Republican face snarling at a bunch of kids who grew up as American as hot dogs and Chevrolet. The GOP doesn’t have an image problem. It has a substance problem. The party remains so beholden to the far right that it can’t see the humanity of decent kids.” [Arizona Central, 6/6/13]

KPCC Southern California: “Riverside Democrat Mark Takano compared the amendment to California's Proposition 187  - the 1994 voter-approved measure that denied many state services to undocumented immigrants. He said Prop 187 turned many California Latinos away from the Republican Party for more than a generation.  ‘Republicans are setting themselves up for the same thing by doing such an inhumane thing—voting against innocent kids brought here through no fault of their own,’ said Takano.” [KPCC (NPR) – Southern California, 6/6/13]

Tampa Bay Times: “Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was one of six Republicans -- and the only from Florida -- to vote today against a measure aimed at an Obama policy that prevents deportations of ‘Dreamers,’ the children of illegal immigrants…Passage brought boos from the gallery…” [Tampa Bay Times, 6/7/13]

Houston Chronicle: "Even those who have already been accepted into deferred action programs — which included 300,000 Dreamers as of May — would be at risk for deportation under the GOP plan. The amendment would also affect other so-called ‘low-priority’ immigrants such as undocumented spouses of U.S. military personnel, treating them the same as violent criminals.  All Texas Democrats voted against the amendment, while 23 of 24 Texas Republicans voted in favor of it. (Dallas Republican Pete Sessions did not vote). In the entire House, just six Republicans voted against the amendment.” [Houston Chronicle – Texas on the Potomac, 6/6/13]

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: “Despite GOP claims that the party is courting Hispanic voters, 221 Republican House members — four from Washington — voted in favor of an amendment sponsored by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, the most strident anti-immigrant voice in Congress’ lower chamber… Democratic House members from this state were vocal in opposition to King’s amendment.  ‘I have spoken to a lot of DREAMers in northwest Washington who only want to stay here and continue to contribute to the country they know as home,’ said Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash.  ‘These young people who were brought to this country as children, graduated from our schools and served in the military now want to continue realizing the American Dream.  They are exactly the kind of immigrants who made this country great.’[Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 6/6/13]

La Opinion: Cámara baja rechaza detener deportaciones de DREAMers [House rejects the measure to stop deportations of DREAMers]

Televisa: Noitcieros Televisa: Cámara de Representantes de EU vota en contra de 'Dreamers' [U.S. House votes against 'Dreamers']

El Universal: Lanzan enmiendas contra “dreamers” Republicanos buscan cortar apoyo a estudiantes indocumentados en EU [Amendments launched against "dreamers": Republicans seek to cut support for undocumented students in the U.S.]

Voz de America: Congreso da portazo a 'dreamers' [Congress slams 'dreamers']

Excelsior: Descobijan en Estados Unidos a los 'dreamers' [Dreamers are not protected in the US]

CNN en Español: La Cámara baja de EU vota contra detener la deportación de estudiantes [The U.S. House of Representatives votes against stopping the deportation of students]

Associated Press: Cámara baja tira ley de Obama sobre deportaciones de dreamers [House of Representatives takes away the law by Obama to stop deportations of Dreamers]