No Sugarplums in the D.C. Jail for Seven Dreamers
By Donna Smith, Executive Director – Progressive Democrats of America
As I wondered about where all of my grandchildren and children are spending the holidays and if this year will include the usual dose of family tension, I couldn’t shake the worry I feel about a young woman I know who is a Dreamer. She isn’t home helping her mom and stepdad prepare for Christmas. She isn’t with her friends working and studying. She isn’t safe. She is in the D.C. metro jail after being arrested sitting in a Congressional office last Friday with six other young people who are demanding a clean Dream Act.
If you would like the nuts and bolts of the news story, CBS did a decent story today after a press conference that you can read here.
Then I opened a Facebook private message that “my” Dreamer’s stepdad sent me. I see her in the jail’s window, making a heart in the air so her family can see it, and I can almost feel her strength and her love being sent to comfort those who are worried. The hunger strike the Dreamers have started adds yet another layer of concern. She isn’t a criminal. She is a intelligent, beautiful, spirited, strong, tender, caring, and committed young woman. I do not know anyone who would wish her pain or anyone who would blame her and punish her for decisions made many years ago by adults in her life.
This is not to say blame needs to be placed. All those many years ago, the people who brought her to this country did so out of love and based on the very best information they had at that time about where in the world to raise their precious child. They brought her to this nation of immigrants where dreaming is a part of our societal DNA. They brought her here to be safe and sound. They brought her here to a land of wide open possibilities and the freedom to achieve. I do not know her biological father at all, but I know her wonderful mother and her stepdad. Every one of them is hard-working, smart, and caring – the best kind of people to have as neighbors, colleagues and friends. Jail is not where she belongs.
Perhaps I should write about how Congress has failed the Dreamers by failing to act on a new Dream Act to protect them from deportation or how rotten Donald Trump is for failing to be honest about what the Congressional members who signed pledges to vote “no” on any continuing resolution or omnibus measure unless it includes a clean Dream Act. Trump tries to say the Dems who signed that pledge want to open the borders and let all the criminals pour into the country or they will shut down the government. We all ought to know by now that most of what comes out of Trump’s mouth is not to be trusted. The Congressional members who signed that pledge are not making any broader statement than exactly what they pledged – a no vote on spending to fund federal government operations unless and until there is a clean Dream Act. That is the simple truth. And it could and should be that simple.
A strong majority of Americans believe that the Dreamers belong here. Hell, it is more than a strong majority, it is 86% support for the Dreamers according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll.
So, let’s be very clear, the amazing young woman I see signaling her devastated family from the window of the D.C. Metro jail, is supported in her cause by 86% of all Americans but Congress and the selfish, dangerous person in the White House want her frightened and starving herself in jail? I am beyond annoyed with the game playing and posturing and all the rest of it. A clean Dream Act would be simple to do, much more popular than the sinister, greedy Trumpublican tax plan, and it might just show the world something pretty necessary for us all – that we still stand for justice and that it is just for the Dreamers to be protected and embraced. They are our children. They are our grandchildren. When they are in danger, we must respond. As surely as if they were of our own bodies, these young Dreamers belong to America.
After a difficult year, it would be an incredible gift to finally achieve something that leaves its mark on our future in a positive, powerful way. Congress can do this. They really can. And they must.
To my young woman Dreamer’s mother, I can only offer my promise and my prayers. My father did not serve in World War II to protect my suburban life. My son did not serve in Afghanistan to protect foreign soil. My loved ones served to protect a dream – a dream that gives every man, woman and child freedom from terror, war and oppression. Your brave little girl is serving now as she believes she must in that same courageous and most American of ways. She is not angry with you for bringing her here. She loves you for that. We love you for that. Our nation has been so enriched by the gift of your child. Thank you for bringing her to us all. Her dream is our dream. Her hurt is our hurt. I hold you both in my heart and I tremble with sorrow at your struggle.
What shall we do, my fellow American dreamers? Are you willing to allow the dysfunction going on in Trumpublican-land to keep seven of our very own young people in jail through Christmas? Are you willing to see another woman’s child wave down from a jailhouse window when she has only sought justice? Are you willing to let your Congressional members cow-tow to the maniacal man in the White House and his elitist inner circle on the issue of a clean Dream Act that would free the Dreamer7 in time for Christmas? Me either. It’s un-American and an affront to all that this season is supposed to signify.
Because, for God’s sake, we are better than this.
We really are.