WASHINGTON—Young immigrants known as “dreamers” expressed their disappointment with the Senate Democrats’ actions to end the government shutdown Tuesday.
Several dozen activists from Make the Road Pennsylvania and “dreamers” who receive protection from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protested in front of the Capitol Tuesday. The Democrats’ decision to agree to end the shutdown without coming to a decision on DACA led some protesters to call for party leaders to step down.
Rainy Leonor, a DACA recipient who works with Make the Road, said she hopes to see change within the Democratic party in the upcoming midterm elections.
“We need real leaders not phonies,” Leonor said, calling for “new leadership that actually cares about the American people, not about money and greed.”
Leonor said it’s important to protest every day, especially because so many legal protections have already expired. She said her own protections expire in December.
“We need to be here today and every other day until something is passed and our people are protected,” Leonor said. “We are humans. We deserve equal treatment. We have been contributing to American society for years, and we are not criminals.”
Yesenia Aguilar, an accounting student from Reading, Pennsylvania, said the reopening of government on Monday is disappointing to her as a “dreamer.”
“They still don’t have a solution for us,” she said, pushing her daughter Denali in a stroller. Aguilar “I have my kids, so I need a solution ASAP.”
Aguilar said she doesn’t have a backup plan if Congress doesn’t reach an agreement to extend protections for DACA recipients. Instead, she said she hopes lawmakers will find a fix before time runs out.
“We are here to stay,” she said. “We are here to have a better future for our kids and families to go to college, to have a job, to be here legally like everybody else.”
As for her future, Aguilar said she will continue to speak up to get the opportunities she feels she deserves having lived in the U.S. since she was six years old.