According to Algeimeiner, the demonstration was organized by coalition of US Jewish advocacy organizations, among them the Anti-Defamation League, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement, and the progressive organization Bend The Arc. The Huffington Post reports that the activists gathered in the center of the rotunda in the Russell Senate Office Building on Wednesday morning. They sang songs, shouted cheers, and made statements in support of the young DACA beneficiaries who are now in danger of being deported.
The group handed over a petition that as of Wednesday night had collected over 10,000 signatures. The petition, which is addressed to Congress, starts by denouncing the lawmakers inability to make any progress on the passage of legislation which would pave a path towards citizenship for the Dreamers. “Your inaction on the Dream Act is a moral disaster.” It goes on to say that over 15,000 dreamers have lost protection from deportation since Trump dismantled the DACA program, and how more than a million of them are now living in fear of being torn away from home and families if congress doesn’t intervene. It also notes how Jews have seen the scapegoating of immigrants before, so they proclaim “We stand with our immigrant neighbors on the side of justice, not oppression, of liberation, not deportation.” The petition finishes calling for immediate action. “We demand a Dream Act now.”
Over a hundred protesters, some wearing Yarmulkes and prayer shawls, feel a special kinship with the young immigrants fighting deportation, who are being blamed for the ills of the country, such as crime, job usurpation, and even bringing diseases to America. If The Dreamers, who were brought here as children were to be deported, they would find themselves in a country they don’t remember. Many of them only speak English and don’t have relatives in their native countries; they’d be strangers in a strange land. Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism issued a statement ahead of the protest
“This is no time for business as usual. In the Torah, we are called 36 different ways to love the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. We were strangers in the land of Egypt, and know what it means to be turned away from places we thought of as home. Today, we say there is no more time to waste. We insist that Dreamers be recognized as the Americans that they are.”
Meanwhile, according to The Daily Caller, Chief of Staff John Kelly met Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) in what was seen as a positive, yet disappointing discussion, because Kelley failed to offer any solution to the immigration problem. “Unfortunately, Mr. Kelly didn’t bring a proposal and didn’t bring us a solution and a way forward,” Democratic Rep. Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois told reporters after the meeting. “I thought since the general knew so well the position of this caucus that to reiterate it would now be the best use of time, but reiterate we did.”
GOP Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo believes they are getting close to a deal, adding he’s confident the administration is open to providing a path to citizenship for Dreamers.
“I think for now if we really keep the focus on those who would be immediately aggrieved, meaning the DACA recipients the Dreamers who are in the DACA program, and obviously build out the deal on the other side as well,” he told reporters. “That’s probably the safest.”