OAKLAND, Calif. - In two days, Congress faces another government shutdown after a temporary budget was passed to avoid a shutdown in January. The central issue again is the fate of Dreamers, the young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.
President Donald Trump offered to give 1.8 million undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship in exchange for hard-line immigration policies.
In Oakland on Tuesday afternoon, doctors and medical staff at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital rallied in support of DACA recipients. One of the impassioned voices was that of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who said she supports a “Clean Dream Act,” one that doesn’t compromise giving legal protection to certain immigrants in order to build a border wall or end chain migration.
“The Bully-In-Chief has continued to vilify and harass vulnerable communities,” said Mayor Schaaf.
“Telling people they can’t bring their families and make families whole, I believe is un-American, but is completely consistent with his racist actions to date.”
The Oakland rally came on the same day White House Chief-of-Staff John Kelly told reporters President Trump will likely not extend the March 5 deadline for when DACA recipients will lose their legal protection and work permits. But, he said that as long as an immigrant in the U.S. illegally has no criminal record, they are likely to stay "out of anyone's scope" for a long time. He said, "They are not a priority for deportation."
More than 600,000 Dreamers could potentially face deportation. Mayor Schaaf said she heard sanctuary cities are being singled out for immigration raids.
“We have heard from officials that ICE will purposely target communities like Oakland that are standing up for our families. Standing up for our values and our immigrant communities. This is vindictive. This is not fitting a Democratic society,” said Mayor Schaaf.
The Children’s Hospital staff said they urge Congress to support a Dream Act that doesn’t use the Dreamers as pawns in exchange for other immigration legislation, citing the positive contributions from immigrants in the Bay Area.
“In fact, many DACA recipients work at Children’s Hospital Oakland, they volunteer here, they contribute back to the hospital,” said Dr. Celine Sparrow, chief resident pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.
“We have a speaker here who was a DACA recipient and a member of Champs that has high school students come to the hospital to volunteer.”
The hospital president said Children’s Hospital admits anyone regardless of status in America.
“We are better than this,” said Dr. Michael Anderson of the immigration fight in Congress. “We should be a beacon of hope for generations.”