Sen. Chris Van Hollen and other Senate Democrats introduced a bill Wednesday that would protect young immigrants’ private information so the Trump administration couldn’t target them for deportation.
The Protect DREAMer Confidentiality Act of 2017 would protect individuals, known as DREAMers, who submitted personal information such as addresses and phone numbers to the federal government when applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an immigration policy that allows undocumented people who came to the U.S. as children to stay in the country to work and study.
Other supporters of the bill include Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.).
The introduction of the bill comes after President Trump issued two executive orders Wednesday to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and to cut federal funding from sanctuary cities, which don’t enforce federal immigration laws.
Trump’s actions sparked a frenzy on social media, where people began protesting the funding cuts for sanctuary cities. Sen. Kevin de León, a Democrat from California, called the president’s actions “unconstitutional” in a tweet.
Cutting off funds for cities that refuse destructive deportation programs is unconstitutional. See you in court. https://t.co/NjGfZfvMrd
— Kevin de Leόn (@kdeleon) January 25, 2017
University of Maryland President Wallace Loh addressed a letter to the campus community Thursday morning responding to the demands of ProtectUMD. In response to a demand requesting that this university become a sanctuary campus, Loh said it was “unnecessary, since we already provide all the protections and support allowed under the law.”
Despite the lack of an official designation, this university is working to put policies in place to protect undocumented students. Last semester, after Trump won the election, the Residence Hall Association, Student Government Association, Graduate Student Government and University Senate all introduced legislation expressing their support for these students.
DREAMers used the hashtag #HeretoStay on Twitter to protest and convey their uncertainty about their futures in the U.S.
— Rep. Nydia Velazquez (@NydiaVelazquez) January 26, 2017
— Mariale R. (@MARIUAHHH) January 25, 2017
“At its core, America exists because people seeking freedom worked hard to build a better life. DREAMers today deserve that same chance,” Van Hollen said in a press release Wednesday. “They came out of the shadows because of their desire to get an education and contribute to our country, and in turn our government promised to protect them. It would go against the nation’s founding ideals to break that promise.”
During an ABC News interview Wednesday, Trump said DREAMers shouldn’t be afraid.
“They shouldn’t be very worried,” Trump said. “I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody. We’re going to have a very strong border. We’re going to have a very solid border. Where you have great people that are here that have done a good job, they should be far less worried.”
Trump said he will announce in the next month whether DREAMers will be allowed to stay.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated incorrectly that the Student Government Association, Graduate Student Government, Residence Hall Association and University Senate all passed legislation to support and defend undocumented students. The GSG and University Senate passed a resolution, however, the RHA and SGA did not. This story has been updated.