With Downtown Display, Groups Call Out Sen. Rob Portman's Silence on DREAM Act



Several Northeast Ohio groups got together in a show of solidarity with the nation's Dreamers today, stretching paper figures around Willard Park and calling on Sen. Rob Portman to get involved with the DREAM Act legislation in Washington.

The rally followed a candlelight vigil in support of Dreamers that took place last month in Market Square. Many of the same groups organized today's event.

"We decided we wanted to fight back after Trump rescinded DACA," organizer Deb Kline said. "We want [Portman] to take a stand and support the DREAM Act."

DACA is the Obama administration program that granted renewable two-year protections to people who were brought to the U.S. as children by undocumented immigrant parents. The Trump administration is phasing out the program. The bipartisan DREAM Act would craft a pathway to permanent citizenship for that group, known as Dreamers.

Over the past few weeks, organizers in Cleveland have been collecting the signatures of registered voters who support the DREAM Act. They asked that voters sign the backs of paper figures, which bore a simple message. In all, they gathered 872 signatures and strung them together to form a chain that ran more than 150 yards. The groups include: Indivisible CLE, DreamActivist Ohio, the InterReligious Task Force on Central America, Cleveland Jobs with Justice, the Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network and America's Voice: Ohio. Together, they strung the figures around Willard Park and called for others in the area to join them.

The group walks into the federal building. - ERIC SANDY / SCENE
  • The group walks into the federal building.
"We believe in Dreamers!" they chanted.

Today, the groups asked Portman to throw his support behind the DREAM Act. (U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown supports the bill.) A small group of people took the 872 signatures up to Portman's office after the event.

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