Pelosi and Velásquez Push for DACA/TPS Bill in New York

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) and Rep. Nydia Velásquez (second from right) are pushing for a bill that would benefit Dreamers and TPS holders. (Photo by Mariela Lombard via El Diario)

(…) On Wednesday, several Democratic leaders, led by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York Rep. Nydia Velásquez, announced in New York that in the coming months they will put up a fight in Congress to push for a bill that would give relief to Dreamers and TPS beneficiaries.

Velázquez said that a host of influential Democratic leaders, as well as immigrant rights activists, are launching a campaign to push Washington lawmakers to approve the H.R. 6 bill, better known as the Dream and Promise Act.

(…) “We need to protect the status of people who have been here for many years contributing to the United States’ greatness. This legislation is urgent and the immigrant stories that we hear on a daily basis are reasons enough to approve it,” said Pelosi, inviting the community to mobilize and organize to help the bill pass. “Sí se puede [Yes we can],” she added in Spanish.

The bill would also benefit recipients of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), a form of relief that prevents them from being deported, generally for an established period of time.

Joining the press conference, which took place at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, were other advocates of the measure, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rep. Adriano Espaillat (…)

Perla Canales, from Honduras, a TPS beneficiary since 1999 when the Bill Clinton administration gave protected status to Central American victims of Hurricane Mitch, said she was optimistic.

“I do feel that this time this bill is going to pass, and it will take away that constant fear that we live in. When you know that there is no path to [permanent] residence you always worry that you will be sent back to your country, where it’s dangerous and there are no opportunities,” said the immigrant, adding that she hopes the protections will pass before December so she can spend a relaxed Christmas with her family.

(…) “I came here from México when I was two-and-a-half years old,” said Vanessa, 28, a DACA recipient and mother. “This is my life, and it is hard knowing that at any moment something can happen to me and they can send me to a country where I have nothing. Also, because I don’t have a permanent status I have not been able to do things like finishing my business management studies.”

Héctor Figueroa, president of the 32BJ union, said that immigration laws have a direct impact on labor issues, and urged Washington to not give up on the bill. “It’s about defending the dreams of millions of immigrants,” he said.

(…)

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