WASHINGTON, DC — Rachel’s Network has joined a broad coalition of Environmental and Conservation Groups to support the passage of a clean Dream Act in Congress.

Since August 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has protected close to 800,000 DREAMers whose very existence epitomizes courage, ambition, love of family, and devotion to this country. DREAMers are our family, our friends, our colleagues and our neighbors who were brought to the United States as children, call this country home, and know of no other home. DACA has allowed them to continue to be with their families, their children, and to work without fear of deportation. These are inspiring young adults who are defending our interests at home and abroad, attending school, contributing to our economy, taking care of their families, advocating for their communities, and contributing to the future of America. This is their only home.

As an environmental organization, we fundamentally believe that the defense and protection of vulnerable communities and ecosystems is crucial to upholding principles of justice and equity in our work. We are committed to fighting for healthy and safe communities where we are all able to thrive, regardless of an individual’s immigration status. Inherent in that vision is the principle that DREAMers should be able to protect the health, safety and the environment of their communities without fear of retaliation or deportation. DREAMers represent the best values of this country and we must without hesitation or trepidation embrace our nation’s DREAMers and stand in solidarity with their fight to stay in this country.

DREAMers are scientists, scholars, lawyers, doctors, advocates, artists and so much more. Many have contributed immeasurably to our country, its institutions and communities, and its movements – including the environmental movement. It is because of this, that we must emphatically stand in common cause with DREAMers and other social justice and civil rights institutions in calling for the passage of a clean DREAM Act. This is our obligation and privilege as a collective of stewards; not only of the natural environment that we leave for future generations, but the values that we leave them as well.

A clean DREAM Act would not use young immigrants as bargaining chips to harm immigrant communities. This means that, among other things, no funding should be allowed for the US-Mexico border wall. In 2017, Rachel’s Network and the Sierra Club partnered to draw the public’s attention to the landscapes and communities threatened by border walls, strengthen the coalition fighting these projects, and develop a legal strategy to resist further construction. To learn more about our work on the border wall, click here.

Photo: Pax Ahimsa Gethen

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