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Rep. Himes And DREAMers Debate DACA Compromise

DREAMers and those displaced by Hurricane Maria piled into U.S. Representative Jim Himes’ office in Bridgeport on Tuesday. They want Himes to push Congress to give more aid to Puerto Rico and to secure a clean DREAM Act, legislation that creates a path to citizenship for immigrant youth that stands on its own, and is not tied to funding for a border wall or other immigration enforcement measure. 

The Democratic Congressman told the group that getting both done won’t be easy. 

Himes assured the group that he would fight for a fair federal aid package to help Puerto Rico recover, but he said getting a clean DREAM Act wasn’t going to happen. Himes said he needs their input on what type of legislation they would accept.   

“Assuming – and I think we’ll be lucky to see any DREAM Act – assuming that we see a DREAM Act, what DREAM Act is too ugly to justify a moral yes vote? And I tried to give them an example. What if there’s money for a wall? What if there’s money for deportation? So really that’s about trying to involve them in the decision I may have to make in the coming weeks.”  

Wendy Cardenas, with the immigrant rights group, Make the Road Connecticut, is a DACA recipient. Her family is from Peru. Cardenas says she and the rest of the activists realize they’re not likely to get a clean DREAM Act.  

“We know that. But we understand that the people in power, they have the power to do something. They have the power to keep voting no, like if something like the wall keeps coming up, like money for border security and all that. But we want something to happen this year.”  

Cardernas said right now she’s scared because her future is uncertain. Himes said people living in limbo because of their immigration status, like Cardernas, makes him desperate to vote for a DREAM Act. But he wants it to be one that they can live with.  

Ann is an editor and senior content producer with WSHU, including founding producer of the midday talk show, The Full Story.