Protesters rally to urge Paul Ryan to pass Dream Act

A group of protesters held signs and shared personal stories Wednesday urging House Speaker Paul Ryan to pass a clean Dream Act.

The group of about 10 people gathered at Courthouse Park, which is just down the street from Ryan’s Janesville office.

“Mr. Speaker, we have tried multiple times to meet with you. We have gone to your church, to your house and (in) December, we will be going to Washington, D.C. and will be joined with millions of others,” said Yareli Morelia, an undocumented high school student from Milwaukee.

Others in the group shared how the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects more than 700,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, has helped them.

Eric Vasquez is a DACA recipient. He said he’s lived in Janesville since he was 7 years old and now works as a youth advocate for middle schools in the district.

“I have little kids who don’t want to talk to any other teachers but have no problem telling me what’s going on at home, what is going on with their lives,” Vasquez said. “I wouldn’t be able to do this job if it wouldn’t be because of DACA. Yes, they can hire another person to do my job, but they can’t do my job. They cannot put in what I put into it.”

Vasquez said he also does extra after school activities, including teaching kids how to DJ and helping them learn how to dance.

The rally was hosted by Youth Empowered in the Struggle and the student arm of Voces de la Frontera. The groups are asking Ryan to “allow a vote on a bill that provides a path to citizenship for immigrant youth, while providing no funds for a bigoted wall, further militarization of the border or an increase in deportations and the separation of families,” according to a news release.

“My parents brought me here to give me a better life and being with them is part of that better life,” Morelia said.Protesters rally to urge Paul Ryan to pass Dream Act

The group held the rally in front of a mobile billboard that read, “Paul Ryan: Thanksgiving is about family. Help stop 800,000 families from being ripped apart. Pass a clean #DreamActNow by Christmas.”

There is also a billboard along Milton Avenue that’s displaying the message to Ryan.