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Protesters sit in at McCain’s Phoenix office to push for DREAMer protections

(KTAR News/Corbin Carson)

PHOENIX — Dozens of protesters gathered at U.S. Sen. John McCain’s office in Phoenix on Monday to call on the Arizona senator to protect so-called DREAMers.

“We’re looking for Sen. McCain to vote ‘No’ on any spending bill that does not include a clean DREAM Act provision,” said Korina Iribe with Arizona State University’s Undocumented Students for Education Equity. “That would benefit and protect over 800,000 youth across the country.”

“We want him to use his leverage as a senior senator and urge his colleagues to do the same to ensure that we can prevent any kind of government shut-down, and we can also pass a DREAM Act,” she added.

The demonstration was part of a national event, where protesters gathered at 45 local Senate and House offices and asked members to fight for legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. at a young age to get a path to citizenship.

According to the Phoenix New Times, at least seven protesters were arrested during Monday’s demonstration for sitting in the lobby, blocking the doors to McCain’s office, and refusing to leave the building.

The undocumented immigrants, who have been given the nickname DREAMers due to a old DREAM Act, have been in limbo after President Donald Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in September.

The program, also known as DACA, was an Obama-era program that granted temporary work permits to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

Trump also granted a six-month delay to the end of the program in an effort to push Congress to decide whether it wants to write legislation to protect the immigrants.

While several pieces of legislation have been proposed to protect DACA recipients, including a bill introduced in October by Sen. Jeff Flake, none of them have made serious headway.

But Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said he and dozens of other Democrats will not vote for the government spending bill unless it includes a legislative fix for the DREAMers.

However, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said it would be “a grave mistake to add DACA reform to the spending bill.”

KTAR News’ Griselda Zetino contributed to this report. 

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