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Local DACA recipients sit down for “Dreamer Dinner” with Congresswoman Jayapal

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal held a dinner tonight welcoming local DACA recipients to her office in downtown Seattle as part of a nationwide Dreamer Dinners Campaign.

Jayapal’s conference table was turned dinner table on Labor Day discussing the impacts of the potential end to the DACA program that could be announced by President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

“It’s the stories and the organizing that’s going to make the difference,” said Jayapal to the young people sitting across from her.

One of the men sitting at the table, Paul Quinonez, an undocumented recent college graduate who came to the United States at the age of seven from Mexico. Now 22 years old he says it’s important for stories like his to be heard.

“While we know DACA wasn’t going to be permanent it has been a lifeline for many people,” said Quinonez. He added if President Trump announces the end of DACA on Tuesday it would send his life into chaos. “I would lose my job, I wouldn’t be able to provide for myself, be able to pay rent and I wouldn’t have access to healthcare anymore,” he said.

Jayapal listened as the youth around her table poured their hearts out about the emotional toll and undocumented identity has taken on their lives.

“Is this really what you think the United States is really about, deporting people, 800,000 people like you across the country?” she asked the group.

Jayapal says she’ll take their message back to Washington to push for more permanent legislation for undocumented youth.

“I want people to really make that choice which side are they really going to stand on. This is a point for congress members to say what they believe in and stand up for the beliefs,” said Jayapal.

Graciela Nunez Paragas, a DACA recipient  says the program has enabled her to go to college, get prestigious internships in Washington, D.C and says she’s not going to stop fighting for others like herself. She hopes her story tonight will help rally more support for a permanent solution for other undocumented youth.

“We are valuable, we are American tax payers, so we’re using this as basis to really fight for our rights for a permanent legislative solution from congress,” said Nunez Paragas.

Q13 reached out to the state Republican party for comment on the upcoming announcement by the President, Chairman Susan Hutchison was not available for comment.