San Antonians Holding Vigil Tonight for Passage of the DREAM Act

Lyanne A. Guarecuco
Congress is now two days away from the deadline to pass a spending bill to keep the government running. Currently, that bill has earmarked $1.6 billion to fund the first installation of President Donald Trump's border wall. Using the tight deadline as leverage, some lawmakers have said they won't vote on the bill unless it cuts the border wall funding and includes a "clean" DREAM Act — a measure guaranteeing children of undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship.

Undocumented immigrants and immigrants with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA, a temporary version of the DREAM Act that was cut by President Donald Trump in September) status have flooded Capitol Hill to demand their representatives follow suit.

That includes three San Antonio DACA recipients, who met with Congressman Joaquin Castro in his D.C. office to share their stories Wednesday morning. It also includes the seven DACA recipients who were arrested Friday during sit-ins at the offices of Sen. Chuck Schumer and Congressman Carlos Curbelo. The group has refused to give their names to D.C. police and have been on a hunger strike since their request.

On Wednesday evening, San Antonians will hold a vigil to show their support of both the seven in custody, their fellow San Antonians at the Capitol, and the other 2 million immigrants who immigrated to the country before the age of 16 who'd be protected under the proposed DREAM Act.

"Undocumented immigrants and refugees need to know that they have our support," said Barbie Hurtado, a member of the Texas Refugee and Immigrant Network (TRAIN), who's organized the Wednesday event.

A DACA recipient and several undocumented immigrants will speak at the 7 p.m. vigil to be held at San Antonio's Main Plaza.

Congressman Castro and Congressman Lloyd Doggett have already sworn not to vote on a spending bill that doesn't include the DREAM Act, but other San Antonio lawmakers have remained silent on the issue. In a Tuesday, Dec. 12 editorial in the San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio City Councilman Rey Saldaña asked Congressman Will Hurd (a Republican whose immense district includes south San Antonio and a huge chunk of the borderlands) to support the bipartisan movement.

"You must join with your Republican colleagues and congressional Democrats to pass a clean DREAM Act," wrote Saldaña. "Something can be done, but time is quickly running out."