(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser proclaimed December 6, 2017 “DREAMers Day” in Washington, DC. In August, the Mayor joined Cities for Action in calling on President Trump to defend DREAMers. The next month, when the President announced plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Mayor reaffirmed the District’s support for DREAMers and called on Congress to quickly pass the Dream Act. This week, Mayor Bowser is once again joining leaders and residents across the country in calling on Congress to pass a clean Dream Act.
“Washington, DC stands with our DREAMers, and today, I once again join leaders across the country in calling on Congress to quickly pass a clean Dream Act,” said Mayor Bowser. “DREAMers are veterans, business owners, and students. The United States is their home, and they are helping build a safer, stronger, and more prosperous country for all. This is not a partisan issue; Republicans and Democrats agree – Congress must pass the Dream Act immediately.”
In addition to calling on Congress to pass a clean Dream Act, Mayor Bowser also calls on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. State Department to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for El Salvador and Honduras by 18 months. Both countries face status expiration in 2018, and both nations continue to deal with devastating violence. With more than 32,000 TPS recipients, the DC region has the largest population of El Salvadoran recipients in the nation. If TPS expires for these nations, many TPS recipients will return to nations that are not prepared to accommodate a large influx of residents.
In January 2017, Mayor Bowser announced that her Administration would provide funding to community-based organizations, private organizations, associations, and law firms that do legal work for immigrants in Washington, DC through a newly created Immigrant Justice Legal Services (IJLS) grant program. Since launching the program, the Administration has provided one million dollars to organizations that:
- help DC residents convert green cards to citizenship;
- renew DACA applications and work permits for DC residents;
- conduct Know Your Rights briefings and workshops;
- help prepare asylum applications and provide legal representation at hearings for DC residents;
- represent DC residents in deportation proceedings;
- protect financial assets and custody for DC children in the face of potential deportation of parents or guardians;
- help people and businesses conduct affairs through ITIN numbers;
- file any lawsuits that may become necessary to challenging the use of DACA applications for finding or deporting undocumented persons;
- help file applications for S, T, U and Special Immigrant Juvenile visas for DC residents or family members of DC residents; and
- provide legal help for family reunification efforts for families with at least one DC resident.
The District’s IJLS program has become a national model for providing legal services that relate to immigrant justice. In addition to providing a wide range of services, in under a year, IJLS grantees have hosted 28 Know Your Rights Sessions, serving over 865 individuals; trained more than 300 attorneys; supported 40 citizenship applications; and helped file 58 asylum cases.
In addition to the IJLS grant program, last month, Mayor Bowser announced a new partnership between DC Government and National Immigration Forum, a non-profit group, that will make citizenship services more readily available for DC Government employees, their families, and hundreds of others who live or work in Washington, DC. The partnership will help thousands of District residents who want to become American citizens go through the naturalization process.
Today’s proclamation can be found HERE.