'I am Undocumented and Unafraid,' Says DACA Beneficiary Declaring Trump a 'Coward'

WASHINGTON – Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro urged Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to support a clean DREAM Act that would offer a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

“There is no doubt that President Trump has already created a mess and that there’s a looming tragedy if Congress doesn’t act. And it’s time for Senator John Cornyn to step up and show real leadership on this issue. Over 22,000 DREAMers have already been harmed by Trump’s arbitrary renewal deadline and Sen. Cornyn has to know how bad Texas DREAMers are being hurt living in limbo right now,” Castro said on a recent a conference call organized by America’s Voice.

“We also know that John Cornyn is in a position of leadership in his party to actually do something about this. He should make sure Congress passes a DREAM Act soon. If Cornyn doesn’t step up, the lives of Texas DREAMers as well as the Texas economy are going to be harmed,” he added.

Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, said a “recent analysis” showed that 91 percent of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients are employed, in school or serving in the military. He called on Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) to endorse a clean DREAM Act since many DREAMers live in his district.

“Another one who needs to step up is Congressman Will Hurd of congressional district 23. He represents a district that has many DREAMers in it and Hurd is completely wrapped up within the power structure of Congress in the party that controls Congress and the White House. So he needs to get off the sidelines and actually do something here for the people that live in his district. Ultimately, we will be a stronger and more prosperous nation if we provide a path to citizenship for our DREAMers."

Damaris Gonzalez, a recipient of DACA, vowed to “continue to turn up the heat” on members of Congress who oppose the DREAM Act.

“Without DACA and until a Dream Act is passed, on a daily basis, I put myself at risk of separation simply by working and providing for my mom, my dad, my sisters and myself. However, on a daily basis my family is terrified for what could happen to me as I go to and from work doing what I have to do in order to provide for my family,” she said. “No daughter should have to live with the constant uncertainty of whether going to work or to the store or to church is worth the risk of being separated from my mom and dad.”

Gonzalez said Congress should pass a DREAM Act without funding for additional border security agents or the border wall.

“I am here to tell you and the rest of Congress that we cannot wait anyway. Congress must pass a clean DREAM Act by December – one without more funding for agents who would terrorize our Texas border communities, without funding for more immigrant detention camps, and one without add-ons for Trump’s wall,” she said.

Castro applauded Gonzalez for her courage.

“Damaris’ story and so many stories we have heard over the last few weeks, few months and last few years are powerful examples of how resilient, how intelligent, and how committed to hard work DREAMers around the country really are. The fact is, this country needs its DREAMers. They’re talented. They work hard and they are vital to the future of our nation,” he said.

Oscar Hernandez, a DACA recipient, described Trump as a “coward” for not officially announcing his decision to end DACA before Attorney General Jeff Sessions publicly declared the administration’s new policy. Hernandez said Trump should have given a DACA renewal extension to Hurricane Harvey victims who lost documents in the storm.

“We do not back down. We do not let up and we are just beginning. Members of Congress should expect to continue to see us in their districts and in D.C. until we see justice that we seek,” he said. “My name is Oscar Hernandez. I am undocumented and unafraid. Houston, Texas is my home, and I am here to stay.”