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Panetta Holds Roundtable with Dreamers in Salinas

September 12, 2017
Press Release
Says Congress must work to pass a long-term solution to give Dreamers the opportunity to continue to give back to their communities and country.

SALINAS, CA –  Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) held a roundtable at Hartnell College with thirty Dreamers, who are currently enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The young people, brought to the United States as children, enrolled in DACA to be protected from deportation and to earn their citizenship. Congressman Panetta arranged the roundtable in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement on Tuesday that he would terminate the DACA program, calling on Congress to consider legislative solutions. 

“The Dreamers I met with told me about their families, their lives, and their hard work to be a part of and positively contribute to our community. Their parents took great risks to bring them here to give them a better life. These young men and women are well aware of their obligation to give back to the country that gave them so much opportunity. In order to fulfill that responsibility, each Dreamer works hard to succeed in school, at work, for their families and our community. Now, they are threatened with potentially being forced to leave the only country that they are so proud to call home,” said Congressman Panetta. “Democrats and Republicans in Congress must work together to pass legislation that provides Dreamers throughout our community and country the opportunity to fulfill the American Dream."

At the roundtable, Congressman Panetta took the Dreamers’ questions, listened to how the DACA program has positively impacted their lives, and heard their concerns about the end of the program as it stands. He also discussed his efforts to protect Dreamers, sharing that he is working to pass legislation that would ensure permanent resident status to DACA recipients and others working to become citizens. California is home to 1 in 4 of the nation’s total DACA population, and an estimated 20,000 Dreamers currently live in California’s 20th congressional district. Congressman Panetta will take what he learned back to Washington to share with his colleagues in Congress as they debate long-term solutions.  

Prior to the roundtable, Congressman Panetta held a press conference, where he and two Dreamers currently enrolled at Hartnell College highlighted the contributions Dreamers make to our economy, our communities, and our country.

"Regardless of President Trump's action to terminate the DACA program, Hartnell College is committed to the higher education dreams of our DREAMer students," stated Hartnell’s Superintendent/President, Dr. Willard Lewallen. "We get to see firsthand the amazing success stories of these students who exhibit tremendous grit and courage in the face of adversity."