WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Greg Stanton today voted to pass the Dream Act of 2019, which will provide permanent protections for Dreamers, at today’s House Judiciary Committee meeting. The committee passed the bill, which will now be considered by the House.
Stanton, an original co-sponsor of the bill, pointed to the 9,000 Dreamers in his district who would stand to benefit from passage. He highlighted ASU graduate, Reyna Montoya, who founded Aliento, an organization in Mesa that supports other undocumented youth and mixed status families through art, leadership development, organizing and education. Her work earned her a spot on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs last year.
“If Reyna, an individual deeply impacted by Congress’s inaction, can inspire such change, we—as Members of this body—have a moral responsibility to fix a system that is outdated, unjust, and broken,” Stanton said. “Today we are taking the first step.”
Stanton’s full comments are below:
Today is a historic day for the Judiciary Committee. We have the privilege of discussing immigration bills that will affect an estimated 2 million people in the United States. Dreamers, TPS and DED holders have been woven into the fabric of our country for decades. We know they are the teachers in our schools, the leaders in our communities, the owners of local businesses back in our districts. They are Americans, just like you and me.
Dreamers are constantly reminded of their undocumented status when they are not able to legally work, travel abroad, obtain a driver’s license, or receive federal financial aid. These every-day things that we, as citizens, don’t give a second thought about, will finally be obtainable for these individuals with the passage of this bill.
My state, Arizona, is one of the ten states with the highest number of Dreamers who stand to benefit from this legislation. There are 9,000 Dreamers in my district alone—young people who have to confront the stressful factors associated with their undocumented status every day.
I want to highlight, Reyna Montoya, a Dreamer and educator who has caused ripples of change in my district.
She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts and later earned a master’s degree in secondary education from Grand Canyon University. She became a public high school teacher in south Phoenix.
Reyna has grown up into a remarkable young woman—despite the fear, anxiety and stress associated with having undocumented status in our country.
She used dance as her refuge for dealing with these emotions and the possibility of losing her dad to deportation. She founded Aliento, an organization located in Mesa, Arizona, that supports other undocumented youth, children, and mixed status families through art, leadership development, organizing and education.
Aliento has become a place where young people can go to process their feelings while simultaneously changing the policies and structures causing the trauma in the first place. A place more communities in America need.
Last year, Reyna earned a spot on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs list for finding a way to turn an impossible situation into a catalyst for change.
If Reyna, an individual deeply impacted by Congress’s inaction, can inspire such change, we—as Members of this body—have a moral responsibility to fix a system that is outdated, unjust, and broken. Today we are taking the first step.
We are marking up legislation that forces us to confront the responsibility we have to the Dreamers, TPS, and DED holders in our communities: to do everything in our power to pass legislation that finally recognizes their presence, their work, their dignity, their contributions, and ultimately, their humanity.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to insert into the record two publications. One titled, Undocumented Status: The Impact on Teens and Their Families Living in the United States and the other, Turning trauma into hope for Arizona’s DACA recipients.
I yield back.
Video of Stanton’s comments is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGphRphToVA