Denham’s constituents held DREAMer protest demonstration outside congressman’s office

Dreamer activists protesting in front of Congressman Jeff Denham’s office in Modesto on June 12.
Dreamer activists protesting in front of Congressman Jeff Denham’s office in Modesto on June 12. Special to Vida en el Valle

Immigration activities and DREAMers supporters demostrated outside of Congressman Jeff Denham's office in Modesto to protest Denham's dropping the discharge petition for the DREAM Act on Tuesday, June 12, a move that protesters said killed any chance for DREAMers.

Among those who rallied in front of Denham’s office included Josh Harder, who is a democratic challenger for the incumbent’s seat, along with more than 16 community groups from United Farm Workers to California Dream Network to Modesto Junior College Democrats to Be the Change Turlock and MECHA - CSU Stanislaus among many others.

“Denham doesn’t realize what his inactions are doing to our family. We don’t come here to leave everything behind only to be called rapists, animals and criminals,” said Julissa Ruiz Ramirez from California Dream Network. “We come here because we want to live like everyone else and have a life and future.”

Ruiz Ramirez, a Stanislaus State student, recently was sponsored to go to Washington, D.C. where she had the opportunity to speak with Denham about dreamers.

Those in the protest accused Denham of only participating in the discharge petition to score political points with immigrant communities crucial to his re-election this election year adding that Denham’s actions have failed them and their communities and the need to support immigrant communities with successful legislation.

The discharge petition would have set up votes on four immigration measures, with the one getting the most votes above a majority prevailing

“(Denham’s) been saying he wants to help immigrants. What progress have we seen? No longer does he get to say he is a friend of immigrants when the results are zero,” said Tim Robertson, director of the Northern Valley Federation of Labor stood in front of Denham’s office criticizing the incumbent for his repeated failures on immigration.

One of the attendees read a letter on behalf a dreamer from Ceres High School who didn’t attend the rally because he was worried about safety and potential deportation.

In his letter, the dreamer identified only as Hector said “I feel American at heart I go to school with people who see me no different than any other person and am thankful for that I live with the uncertainty of my future even though as long as I remember I have called California my home.”

“I was brought at 1 and a half years old yet I am viewed as a criminal for calling this my home. I believe I am American and would like be a contributing member of society one day,” said the Latino high school student who has a 4.3 grade point average in his letter.

“We have seen an incumbent member of Congress who loves to issue press releases about immigration. I have even received a couple of mailers discussed how much he supposedly loves Dreamers,” said Harder who is running against Denham. “In reality, he certainly doesn’t do anything to show Dreamers have a place within our community...It’s time to elect change at the ballot box.”

María G. Ortiz-Briones: 559-441-6782, @TuValleTuSalud