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Gillibrand says Congress should ‘stand up’ to president on DACA

The senator and Rep. Adriano Espaillat said Congress should protect Dreamers this year.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Adriano Espaillat call

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Adriano Espaillat call for a provision to protect Dreamers in any long-term government spending bill on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, at Gillibrand's Manhattan office. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said Sunday she would not vote for any long-term spending plan unless it includes a provision to protect Dreamers, just one day after the Senate passed its version of the tax bill.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program gives temporary protected status to the children of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as kids, allowing them to work and go to school.

In September, President Donald Trump said he would end DACA.

“My goal is to make sure this Republican-controlled Congress actually has the guts to stand up to the president and do what’s right. If the president won’t lead, then Congress will,” Gillibrand said, adding: “I really believe this is such a ... morally clear issue, that if Republicans stand against our Dreamers, they’re standing against America.”

According to published reports, some Democrats are pushing for a government shutdown if DACA, an Obama-era program, is not continued.

Appearing on ABC News’ “This Week,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) dismissed the idea as “ridiculous” and said Trump has set a March deadline to address the program.

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan/Bronx) said extending the program should be a bipartisan priority but he isn’t proposing a government shutdown.

“I think this is an important piece of legislation, it should be very central to this session that ends this year,” he said.

Mount Kisco resident Lisdy Contreras, 20, came to the United States from Guatemala when she was 5. Contreras, a Dreamer, is studying criminal justice at Pace University and hopes to become a lawyer.

She said she can’t renew her DACA status, which expires in November.

“This is my country, I’m very patriotic of this country and I want to become a citizen of this country,” she said. “It’s all I’ve known.”

Gillibrand said she is “hopeful” the Senate will pass the DREAM Act as part of the spending bill.


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