With a looming expiration date for the Dream Act, thousands of residents brought to the United States illegally as children could no longer be protected from deportation.
The Dream Act expires March 5th, and with no sign of an immigration bill to replace, young immigrants in Connecticut told Channel 3 that they will not rest until a new bill is passed.
Thousands of immigrants who have come to rely on the Dream Act have been mobilizing and lobbying lawmakers in Washington for months.
“My freedom is still limited by the expiration date on it,” said spokesperson for Connecticut Students for a Dream, Carolina Bortolleto told Channel 3 on Saturday.
Originally from Brazil, Bortolleto’s DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, card expires in March 2019.
Enacted under former President Obama’s Dream Act, Bortolleto said it gives her protection from deportation, a work permit, and a personal sense of belonging in a country she calls home.
“Our lives since September, have been one deadline after another, and the deadlines keep moving. It’s like a moving goal post,” described Bortolleto. “The word ‘Dreamer’ did give me a lot of identity because I finally found some place to belong.”
In order to help those caught in a similar situation, Bortolleto co-founded Connecticut Students for a Dream, which is comprised of dozens of people who have been lobbying lawmakers in Washington D.C. since September.
“The Democrats in the senate kind of let us down a little bit, because they could have pushed for something,” said Bortolleto.
Immigration policy has become a contentious topic on the House and Senate floor, and here in Connecticut.
“Would you want people to enter your home any way they want to stay as long as they want to? Somehow that doesn’t seem right,” a Danbury resident said.
Now, many of these young residents have said they feel as if they are being held hostage in exchange for policies they believe could end up hurting loved ones.
“In the end, we all deserve to live in dignity and safety,” said Bortolleto.
The Trump Administration set a hard deadline for DACA to expire for March 5th. Federal officials estimate 690,000 young immigrants have DACA status but about 1.8 million are eligible.
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