|Gunnison, CO – On a press call today, ahead of the December 8th omnibus deadline, Western State Colorado University President Greg Salsbury and Gunnison Mayor Jim Gelwicks joined Carlos Lerma, a local DACA recipient at Western State Colorado University and Nicole Melaku, Executive Director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition to discuss why a legislative solution for Dreamers is so urgent for Colorado and America, and call on Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO3), Sen. Gardner, and Congressional Republicans to sign the Dream Act. Earlier this month, tens of thousands of Dreamers throughout America missed the October 5th renewal deadline. In Colorado, there are more than 17,000 DACA recipients whose futures and opportunities to fully contribute to their communities are threatened by President Trump’s decision to end the popular and successful DACA program. In Rep. Tipton’s district alone, there are nearly 2,000 DACA recipients. Last week marked a week of action by university presidents and leaders in higher education in support of a clean Dream Act (“Dreaming for the Future: Dreamers & Higher Education”).
A recording of today’s call can be found here.
Western State Colorado University President Greg Salsbury, said, “As you may know, Western State Colorado University has already issued a statement with regard to our stance on diversity and inclusivity. We added to that with a statement in regard to our support for DACA students as well. We added our signature to the list of some 700 universities that are calling on Congress to take action and to find a permanent solution to the situation. We are very hopeful that they will. We have thousands of DACA recipients who are students, employees, and military members and we would like them to be able to continue to contribute to our schools, communities, and nation. We are particularly appreciative of the diversity brought to the University through DACA. We think it’s really important, and want to lend our voice to urge Congress to work swiftly to pass an equitable and permanent legislative solution.”
Gunnison, CO Mayor Jim Gelwicks, said, “The Dream Act is part of the American Dream. If you work hard and pass standards, you’ll be judged on merit. Congress should allow our students to stand on their own merits and not be judged by the actions of others. They contribute to the health of our community and health of our nation.”
Carlos Lerma, DACA Recipient and student at Western State Colorado University, said, “I am 19 years old, and have lived in the United States for 17 years. I am urging Congress to pass a clean Dream Act because our safety is on the line. We ask that there are no dangerous add-ons that could terrorize our parents or fund a border wall. My parents made the difficult choice to bring us here when I was two to give me better opportunities, but without papers, it was hard to do the things I wanted to do. DACA allowed me to get a work permit so I could help my mom pay my bills and enroll in college to pursue environmental law. Without DACA, there is fear and uncertainty. We need Congress to pass a clean Dream Act so that people like me can once again feel safe. This is our home and we are here to stay.”
Nicole Melaku, Executive Director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, said, “The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition stands firmly with DACA recipients, our national partners and allies to demand a clean Dream Act be passed by December 8th. We are calling on Senator Gardner and Senator Bennet to stand firmly on passing a clean Dream Act in the Senate that is not tied to harsh enforcement measures and any allocation of dollars in the FY18 Federal Budget to detain and deport other members of the immigrant community. We urge their colleagues in the House of Representatives Scott Tipton, Doug Lamborn, and Ken Buck to show their courage and join Representative Mike Coffman as co-sponsors of HR3440-Dream Act of 2017, and sign the discharge petition to force a vote on the House floor in the coming weeks. We expect bi-partisan collaboration to pass a clean Dream Act that will allow DACA recipients the opportunity to continue to contribute to our economy and our communities in Colorado and across the country.”