Activists push to pass DREAM Act before end of year

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Statistics from the Department of Homeland Security show ICE has increased the number of people arrested and removed in Colorado and Wyoming.

It's a big reason activists are pushing for a clean DREAM ACT to pass through Congress before the end of the year.

Seven women showed up at U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman's (R-Aurora) office on Tuesday - pushing Congress to allow DACA recipients - who came to the U.S. illegally as children - to remain here without fear of deportation. There are 17,000 of them in Colorado.

"Sometimes I feel as if we're kind of beating our heads against a wall...but you know...worse than hate is apathy," said Shelley Cohen. 

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Cohen's been advocating for social justice issues since she was in high school and her most recent passion is for Congress to push a DREAM Act. 

"Make the pledge Mike," Cohen said. "Clean DREAM Act or no omnibus spending bill, signed your constituent."

That's the message she left at Coffman's office during her sit-in protest. But it may not be enough to get the DREAM Act passed. 

"Only time will tell," said Cesar Garcia Hernandez. "If I could answer that question, I would be offering you my crystal ball."

Garcia Hernandez, a Law Professor at the University of Denver, said there's a push to pass the DREAM Act before the end of the year. 

"The concern is that we're fast approaching an election year and the pressure will only increase on Republicans in particular to curry their base and to not make any compromises," Hernandez said.

President Donald Trump decided to end the DACA program earlier this year. If the DREAM Act doesn't pass DACA recipients will go back to where they started. 

"They just go back to being an unauthorized migrant that they were before," Hernandez said. 

It's an outcome Cohen is fighting against. 

"These Dreamers have that same dream and should have the opportunity to contribute to American life just like my kids do," she said. 

Coffman was one of 33 congresspersons who sent a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, voicing his support for finding a permanent solution for DACA recipients.

Trump gave Congress a March 5 deadline to figure this all out. 

A report by the Washington Post said the Trump Administration plans to extend that deadline if Congress doesn't meet that date.