Student Union hosts phone-a-thon for the Dream Act

February 9, 2018

The undergraduate Student Union hosted a phone-a-thon Tuesday, Feb. 6, where students could call their state Congressional representative and urge them to support a “clean” Dream Act.

A clean Dream Act refers to the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017, dubbed “clean” because it would not contain funding for a border wall, increased border security or interior enforcement, funding for immigration detention centers or the federal employment verification program (e-verify) according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Democratic lawmakers have been pushing for a Dream Act to extend the Obama-era protections for children of illegal immigrants established under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). In September, President Trump announced he was revoking protections for DACA recipients, or “Dreamers.”

The Student Union provided a script for students to call their representatives, which asked them to support a clean Dream Act, “before the…expiration of this most recent continuous resolution,” referring to the DACA recipients’ protections set to expire on March 5, 2018.

Chas Newman, a Georgetown University student contacted Student Union president Jacob Edelman about hosting an event at Brandeis as part of a campaign where several U.S. colleges would host simultaneous phone-a-thons and provided a script. The Brandeis event was held after Newman’s original project date.

Between one and two dozen students attended the phone-a-thon, which was held in the the Student Union office in the SCC, according to Edelman.

Shaquan McDowell ’18, a senator-at-large who attended the event, commented on the DACA legislation, saying, “It affects particular individuals inside of the Brandeis community … I’m just happy to see that…we’re providing a space for our students to engage not only to assist the broader United States community but also…individuals inside of the campus.” He continued, “As a Union we’re showing that we support our students affected as well as the broader communities affected.”

The phone-a-thon was a student initiative and is not representative of the university administration’s position on DACA or the Dream Act. President Liebowitz did send an email to the Brandeis community after Trump’s decision to rescind DACA, supporting Brandeis students who are Dreamers.

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