202.657.0685 (office)
202.445.4312 (mobile)

Washington, DC – Today, the bipartisan child advocacy organization First Focus praised Democratic leaders for calling on the Administration to protect the well-being of immigrant children. In a letter issued yesterday to President Obama, a diverse group of 22 Democratic Senators urged the Administration to grant relief to young people who are eligible for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The Senators stated that they “would support a grant of deferred action” and other measures to prevent the deportation of eligible DREAM students.

The Senators also affirmed their support for the DREAM Act, which passed the House of Representatives last December. The bill received support from 55 Senators, yet failed to receive the 60 votes in the Senate necessary to overcome a Republican filibuster and become law.

Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus issued the following statement:

“We commend these Democratic Senators for responding to the urgent need to fix administration policy so that children and young people no longer have to live in fear of being separated from their families and deported to a country they may no longer remember. In his State of the Union address, the President stated that it simply ‘makes no sense’ to deport talented young people who are American in every way except paperwork. We urge the President to turn his words in to action by heeding the Senators’ proposal, which lays out practical measures the Department of Homeland Security can adopt to adjust the way it treats DREAM-eligible youth until Congress passes a legislative fix.

“We applaud the 22 signatories of the letter who represent an array of viewpoints within the Democratic caucus. These leaders are listening to the majority of American voters who recognize the importance of common-sense solutions to immigration policy that protects the interests of children and families.

“The Administration has stated time and again that their immigration enforcement priorities are focused on serious criminals. We urge the Administration to stop using their resources to target and deport DREAM- eligible youth and instead focus resources elsewhere. As advocates for children, we believe that immigration enforcement policies should preserve child well-being and the measures proposed by the Senators in this letter uphold that principle.”