The staff at the Arizona Dreamers Coalition watched intently as the U.S. House debated The Dream and Promise Act.
One provides a pathway to citizenship for over 3-million dreamers, and the other providing a pathway for farmworker immigrants.
While the vote provides hope, Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva said, “Now, millions will be able to live, work, attend school, and serve in our military without fear of deportation.”
Karina Ruiz, the director of the Arizona Dreamers Coalition was more measured. “It only includes about 3-million immigrant youth and TPS holders (Temporary Protected Status). We know this is not perfect however it is a good first step.”
Karina Ruiz is a dreamer, and for 9 years, she has ridden the roller coaster of emotions life offers immigrants who have no country to call home. After coming out of the shadows in 2012 with the promise of a pathway to citizenship, Ruiz still waits like 28-thousand other Arizona Dreamers.
In 2019 the House passed similar immigration legislation only to have it die in the Senate.
“We know the real battle is in the Senate. Senator Kelly and Senator Sinema are key in this fight,” Ruiz said. “They must realize and understand if we continue with the filibuster in the Senate anything with immigration or the progressive agenda is not going to happen.”
In December, a federal judge ordered the Trump Administration to re-open DACA applications. The Obama-era program that shields undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children from deportation.
One of the first to apply in Arizona was Daniel Fernandez, a college student who earned a full scholarship to Grand Canyon University.
“I’ve been here for 17 years. I’m not American on paper. I’m American in every other aspect,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez may have to wait a while longer for that day when he can become a U.S. citizen.
The mounting immigration crisis on the southern border is not likely to change any Republican votes in the Senate.
In fact, it might cause a few Democrats to vote against the Dream and Promise Act.