MLK Day event will focus on Dreamers

Published 11:05 pm Friday, January 12, 2018

This year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration will feature two stories of support for Dreamers by two supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The event is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Monday at Riverland Community College. Guest speakers will be Riverland student and Dreamer Yudith Balbuena and Sara Karki with the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota. 

Music is planned, and refreshments will be provided.

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Balbuena said she plans to discuss how DACA has helped her achieve and share her goals.

The program has been in limbo since President Donald Trump took office. This week, Trump suggested that an immigration agreement could be reached in two phases — first by addressing young immigrants and border security with what he called a “bill of love,” then by making comprehensive changes that have long eluded Congress.

Begun during the tenure of former President Barack Obama, the program was ended last year by Trump. The program shielded more than 700,000 people from deportation and gave them the right to work legally. Trump gave Congress until March to find a fix.

Balbuena said she “strongly believes” in the program.

“It has helped a lot of people,” she said.

“We’re here with a dream.”

Balbuena said participants in the program contribute to society and want to succeed.

According to Reuters, Trump on Friday dismissed a bipartisan Senate immigration plan that included a deal on DACA.

“The so-called bipartisan DACA deal presented yesterday to myself and a group of Republican Senators and Congressmen was a big step backwards,” Trump said in a series of Twitter posts Friday.

Trump said the Senate immigration plan would force the United States to admit people from “high crime” countries, digging in on a position critics decried as racist.

Karki said it is important to draw parallels between the issues King addressed during the civil rights era and current social justice and immigrant rights. She plans to draw parallels between King’s message and immigrant legislation such as Minnesota Dream Act and DACA.

“I’m looking forward to Monday’s event,” Karki said.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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