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URGENT: Students Without Status: Urge Congress to Support Rights of Undocumented Immigrant Students

DACA Students


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URGENT: Students Without Status: Urge Congress to Support Rights of Undocumented Immigrant Students

DACA Webinar Congressional Contacts

  1. Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE-02)
  2. Congressman Peter King (R-NY-02)
  3. Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX-06)
  4. Congressman Scott Taylor (R-VA-02)
  5. Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA-04)
  6. Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL-17)
  7. Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28)



Carlos A. Guevara, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation, UnidosUS
Lindsay Dworkin, Director of Policy Development and State Government Relations, Alliance for Excellent Education

On June 7, 2018 the Alliance for Excellent Education and UnidosUS held a brief call-to-action webinar urging Congress to support the rights of undocumented immigrant students.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA, has been in peril since last fall when President Trump decided to cancel it. Recent court decisions have given some hope to the thousands of young people—also known as “Dreamers”—protected from deportation under DACA, but a legislative solution is required to give them the certainty they deserve.

Two Republican Congressmen, Carlos Curbelo of Florida and Jeff Denham of California, are leading an effort to force the U.S. House of Representatives to vote on solutions for DACA immigration and border security through a procedural move called a “discharge petition” that is rarely used. Essentially, if Curbelo and Denham can gather the signatures of 218 Representatives, they can force a vote on the House floor.

Three additional signatures (two Republicans, one Democrat) are required to force a vote to save DACA, and time is running out.

View the webinar to learn what’s happening on Capitol Hill, and how you can help provide undocumented students the protection the need and deserve.

Please direct questions concerning the webinar to If you are unable to watch the webinar live, an archived version will be available at 1–2 business days after the event airs.


The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those underperforming and those traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship.

If you are interested in renting the Alliance’s facilities for your next meeting or webinar, please visit our facilities page to learn more.

Photo Courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action.

Three Congressional signatures.
That’s all we need to force a vote in the House of Representatives to provide undocumented students the certainty, stability, and safety they need and deserve.

Thank you for joining today’s brief webinar.
I’m Lindsay Dworkin, Director of Policy and State Government Relations here at the Alliance for Excellent Education.
I’m joined by Carlos Guevara, Senior Policy Advisor at UnidosUS, formerly known as the National Council of La Raza.

Today’s webinar will provide an update on the rare opportunity we have over the next few days in the House of Representatives to force a vote in support of undocumented students – and how you can help.

We’ll be discussing complex legal issues and the information we provide is intended to apply to a broad audience.
We will not be able to provide legal advice or opinions related to cases involving specific students or families.

Last fall, President Trump announced that he was cancelling the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA.
This program allows some people who were brought to the United States by their parents to stay here, continue their education, and work – free from fear of deportation.

Recent court decisions have given some hope to the thousands of young people protected from deportation under DACA, but a legislative solution is required to give DREAMERS the certainty they deserve.

Over the past several months, Congress has passed a major tax reform measure and negotiated a major budget deal, but they have not passed legislation on DACA and DREAMERS.
In order to force a vote in the House of Representatives, two Republican Congressmen, Carlos Curbelo of Florida and Jeff Denham of California, are leading an effort on what is called a “discharge petition.”

This is a procedural move that is rarely used.
Essentially, if the Congressman can gather the signatures of 218 Representatives, they can force a vote on the House floor.
To do this, they need the support of all Democrats along with 25 Republicans.
Today, they have 215 signatures. They need three more signatures – two more Republicans, and one more Democrat.

Forcing a vote on DACA is common sense.
It’s far past time for Congress to protect Dreamers.
But remember, even if the House passes a bill, the Senate must as well, and the president needs to sign it.
So there are many more steps in the process, but a vote in the House is necessary in order to get a bill to the president’s desk.

That’s the broad overview, and I’m now going to turn to Carlos to help fill in the important details, and tell us what we can do to help.

Carlos, let’s talk for a minute about timing. Why are the next few days so important?

Thanks Lindsay.
At UnidosUS, we’ve been fighting this fight along with many of you across the country and the next few days give us the chance to make some real progress.
Over the past several months, the House of Representatives has voted on a ton of issues, but they haven’t voted on the DREAM Act – largely because the House leadership is afraid it would pass.

As you said, Congressmen Curbelo and Denham are leading this discharge petition because it would force a vote.
The way a discharge petition works though, is complicated. When 218 members of the House sign the petition, any member who signed the petition can bring up the bill for a vote on the House floor, but only after it’s been on the legislative calendar for at least seven days, and only on the second or fourth Monday of each month.
Yes, this is arcane and complicated, but this is how the process works…

Anyhow, that doesn’t leave us with much time to advance the discharge petition this year.
There are only two more Mondays when the House will be in session… June 25 or July 23.
In order to force a vote in June, we need to have all 218 signatures by the end of Monday, June 11.

Thanks, Carlos.
The timing and schedule with the discharge petition is complicated, but the bottom line is that we need all 218 signatures by June 11.
Who has signed the petition so far, and who should we be contacting to secure the final signatures?

As of today, there are 215 signatories to the discharge petition.
All but 1 Democrat have joined – with Rep. Cuellar having opted not to sign yet.
There are also 22 Republicans who have signed on, which we are encouraged by.

There are several members on the Republican side that have been outspoken in the past about supporting Dreamers who are still weighing signing on.
We’ll be posting a list of our key targets on our webinar webpage, and showing them on the screen in just a moment.
We encourage individuals who care about this issue to weigh in asking them to sign the discharge petition.

Thanks, Carlos.
A list of some the key targets are on the screen now along with their contact information.
What would be helpful now is to flood the offices of these members of Congress with phone calls, e-mails, tweets, and facebook messages asking them to sign the discharge petition.
You can call your representative by dialing 202-225-3121.
An operator will answer; all you have to do is ask to be connected with the office of your representative.
When your call is transferred, one of your representative’s staff is likely to answer the phone.
Tell them that you want your representative to sign the discharge petition on immigration in order to support undocumented students.
It’s as simple as that.
If you don’t know who your representative is, you can look it up by going to and inserting your zip code at the top right-hand side of the screen.

Also, every member of Congress has a website, and most if not all have facebook and twitter.
Sending them messages on facebook and twitter is a great idea because it makes your support public.

Now, let’s get back to the policy at hand here for a moment.
When the House votes, what exactly will it be voting on?

Good question, because like everything else in Washington, this is somewhat complicated.
The process here is called “Queen of the Hill.”

The discharge petition will bring up a procedure rule that calls for votes on four different immigration related bills, including the DREAM Act.
In order for the DREAM Act to pass the House, two things need to happen.
First, it has to secure at least 218 votes.
Second, it has to receive more votes than the three other bills.

What are the other 3 bills?
Those bills are the Securing America’s Future Act, the USA Act, and any immigration bill that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan chooses to offer for a vote.

What this means is that getting the signatures for the discharge petition is only the first step – we’ll still need to advocate to pass the DREAM Act.
But we won’t get to a vote if we don’t get the signatures on the discharge petition.

Got it.
So, the first step is to get the remaining three signatures on the discharge petition.
That will force a vote on the DREAM Act and several other related bills.
If the DREAM Act gets the most votes, it passes and gets sent to the Senate.

That’s right.
The process is somewhat complicated, but it’s what we have to do to protect our DREAMERS.
So, please reach out to Republican representatives and the remaining Democrat who haven’t signed the discharge petition and urge them to do so by June 11.
Here again are a few Representatives who have verbally been supportive of dreamers in the past and we think should hear from us on the discharge petition.
This list will be on the webinar webpage for your reference.

Thanks, Carlos.
We have time for just a few questions.
If you have a question, please send it to us using the text box at the bottom of the screen.

Our first question comes from David from Indiana.
He asks: How do I find out if my representative has already signed the discharge petition?

That’s a great question.
The official list of representatives who have signed the discharge petition is kept up to date by the clerk of the House of Representatives and is available at the link on your screen.
If your representative has already signed the petition, give them a call to say thank you.
If your representative hasn’t signed on yet, call them and urge them to do so.
All representatives can be reached by calling 202-225-3121 – and ask to be connected to your representative.

We have another question from Jennifer in California.
She asks: If the DREAM Act doesn’t pass this school year, will undocumented students be able to go to school next school year?

Jennifer – great question.
The short answer is, yes! Carlos – why don’t you give us the more detailed answer.

I’d be happy to, Lindsay.
Yes, all children have the right to attend public school in the United States, regardless of their immigration status.
This was clarified by the Supreme Court over 30 years ago in court case called Plyler v. Doe. We discussed this very important issue a few months ago at a webinar here at the Alliance; I’d encourage anyone with questions about this check out the archived webinar.
The link is available at the bottom of your screen.

Thanks, Carlos.
With that, we’re going to wrap things up.
Carlos, thank you very much for your leadership on behalf of DREAMERS and for joining us in the studio today.
We’ll keep you posted on what happens with the discharge petition on Federal Flash, our five-minute video updates, so be sure to tune in. For an e-mail alert when the next Federal Flash is available, e-mail us

Thank you very much for watching; have a great day.

Categories: Undocumented Students

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