Dear MoveOn member,
This is longer than the emails we usually send, and it covers a ton of ground. But we're in a crucial moment, and we want to make sure we're all on the same page and taking action together to ensure Congress acts before the end of the year to pass a clean Dream Act so that Dreamers don't have to spend the holidays in fear.
On Thursday, Congress once again failed to take action to defend Dreamers and their families.1 They passed a stopgap funding measure that did not include a clean Dream Act, keeping the government open for weeks at a time without doing anything to protect Dreamers in limbo (Congress also failed to protect kids without health care by not authorizing funding for CHIP).
After Thursday's vote, Congress now has just 13 days to secure priorities such as CHIP funding and finally make the Dream Act a reality.
If they fail, Dreamers will be forced to spend the holidays fearing deportation—uncertain how to proceed with their studies and their jobs, raise their kids, or plan for the future.
Congress has the power and moral imperative to pass a clean Dream Act before Christmas so Dreamers and their families can enjoy the holidays in peace. That is why MoveOn members are making this—along with our campaign against the GOP tax scam—a priority fight, and why we're taking action in huge numbers.
Some in Congress—including House Speaker Paul Ryan—claim Congress has until March to fix the problem Donald Trump created when he scrapped the DACA program, throwing millions of lives into turmoil and uncertainty. But the truth is, about 122 DACA recipients lose their status every day Congress delays, and over 11,000 Dreamers—who grew up in America—have already become subject to deportation since Trump ended DACA.2
And despite the overwhelming support for the Dream Act, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are refusing to bring the bill to a vote. So it's coming down to other members of Congress to force a vote on a clean Dream Act—Republicans must demand McConnell and Ryan hold the vote, and Democrats must use their leverage and stand united.
Most Democrats, including Representative Nancy Pelosi, Senator Chuck Schumer, and other congressional leaders, have stated that Congress must take action by Christmas so Dreamers and their families can spend the holiday in peace, not fear. And an increasing number of Democrats, as well as some Republicans, have said they will not vote for any end-of-year spending bills—the "must-pass" bills that keep the government running—until Congress addresses Dream.3
This is the Democrats' one piece of leverage—and why it is so crucial they hold strong on their demand to address this crisis. While Democrats as a group failed to use this leverage Thursday night—in passing a two-week continuing resolution—they have one more shot before the end of the year: December 22.
This is a make-or-break deadline to get Dream done in 2017. If they fail and Congress passes a short-term continuing resolution to continue to fund the government into January, the next shutdown showdown will be paired with a vote on the debt ceiling, which drastically reduces Democrats' leverage in the process. Democrats are unlikely to vote against a bill to raise the debt ceiling, and they don't have the numbers to force a vote at other points in the year. Right now, they have the most leverage and clearest path toward forcing a vote on a clean Dream Act.
The margin for error here is thin, and we must thicken Democratic resolve to stand firm for a clean Dream Act by Christmas. Anything less would mean that Democrats are in practice helping Republicans fund Trump's deportation of Dreamers.
That's why so many MoveOn members are doing all we can—to pressure Republicans to call for a vote, to shore up Democrats in their commitment to the Dream Act, and to raise national awareness about what's at stake. And there's so much more we all need to do together.
Since September, this has been a top-priority campaign for MoveOn members—we've taken to the streets, the phones, and the airwaves to fight for a clean Dream Act.
- MoveOn members organized a week of action in October with events from Texarkana to Syracuse—and have joined and supported rallies, marches, and protests every week since.4
- MoveOn's Video Lab has produced videos on the #CleanDreamAct that have been viewed more than 10 million times, featuring Cristina Jiminez, the MacArthur "Genius Grant" recipient who runs United We Dream; Robert Reich, explaining how the Dream Act would boost our economy by $1 trillion; and Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, sharing their resolve—as well as Dreamers reciting the poem on the Statue of Liberty, faith leaders speaking about the moral crisis of the moment, and so many more.
- MoveOn members have flooded D.C. with calls—and we'll continue to contact key offices on both sides of the aisle, to make sure Republicans and Democrats alike know we expect them to act.
- MoveOn is distributing 100,000 stickers with the message "Our Dreams Unite Us" to offer members a way to display a beautiful, visual representation of this fight.
- MoveOn ran billboards in Paul Ryan's hometown, including a mobile billboard that toured his town's busy shopping areas, through the Thanksgiving recess—in partnership with United We Dream and Voces De La Frontera (Wisconsin).5
- MoveOn and America's Voice commissioned new polling that showed, in battleground congressional districts currently represented by Republicans, voters support the Dream Act, oppose a border wall, expect Congress to act, and would blame Republicans for any shutdown.6
- More than 250,000 MoveOn members have added their name to a petition for a clean Dream Act that was part of a million-signature delivery in Washington, D.C.
This work has stiffened the spines of many Democratic leaders, such as Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, and Jeff Merkley—all of whom opposed the spending bill Thursday night—and has contributed to Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi stating repeatedly that they will get this done by the year's end.7,8
But our fight isn't done yet. In fact, this is our moment. This is our moment to fight alongside brave Dream leaders, who are doing everything from risking arrest in Washington, D.C., in record numbers to organizing tech titans in Silicon Valley.
Here's what we need to do over the next two weeks—with your help and shoulder-to-shoulder with Dreamers, immigrant-led organizations, and Americans of all walks of life:
- Amplify the national alarm. Dreamers are courageously protesting each day—we will lift up those actions and continue to broaden this narrative to become an urgent national conversation. This means organizing thought leaders, cultural figures, and other celebrities; producing breakout videos and media; and ensuring Dreamers' rallying cries are heard in every state.
- Raise the stakes for the Democrats. Democrats made a commitment—together, we can ensure they honor it. We are keeping pressure on key Democrats through calls, social media, and creative actions—and we're also letting them know how they'll be held accountable if they cave, by designing in advance the advertisements and accountability actions we would launch if they fail.
- Keep heat on Republicans. Ultimately, Republicans can insist on getting Dream passed. So we are working to help the Dream message break through from primetime TV to the Sunday pulpit, from paid ads that drive calls to op-eds that shape conversation—so that Republicans know their constituents are paying attention.
Nobody ever believed this fight would be easy—least of all Dreamers, who have been pushing for the Dream Act for sixteen long years and immigrant youth who fought with everything they had to win DACA protections just five years ago. But as immigrant youth and Dreamers continue to take courageous risks to bring us closer to victory, we can—and must—stand united, ready, and determined to win.
Congress failed us again on Thursday—but we can succeed. We can succeed in steering this debate forward, so the two million Dreamers who would qualify for a clean Dream Act can break free of this crushing and needless uncertainty.
Thanks for all you do.
—Corinne, Emma, Iram, Brian, and the rest of the team
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