WEST ORANGE, NJ — By a unanimous vote, the West Orange Township Council approved a resolution to support Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which will allow undocumented young people (“Dreamers”) who came to the United States as children to remain in this country.
Several residents attended Tuesday’s meeting to urge the council members to pass this resolution in favor of DACA and the Dream Act, including Shannon McKinnon, a member of Essex Rising.
“By supporting DACA and the Dream Act, you are supporting the values of West Orange and the immigrants who live here,” said McKinnon. “We are asking you to support efforts to ask the Department of Homeland Security to reinstate DACA, and you will be asking our representatives to vote for the Dream Act…It is bi-partisan legislation. Passing it is the right thing to do.”
The council heard from Gladys, an undocumented immigrant who came with her daughter, Paula, to West Orange 27 years ago. Gladys spoke about how her daughter received straight A’s at West Orange High School, and how supportive school officials were in making sure Paula could go to college.
“Paula graduated from Montclair State University in 2013 with honors,” said Gladys. “She could not get the state scholarship or get a state of federal loan. Both she and I worked to get the money she needed for college…Today I am a proud mom of a Montclair State graduate with honors. I am asking the council today to support our children—like my daughter.”
Resident Elizabeth Redwine also spoke on behalf of this resolution.
“By passing this resolution to support Dreamers, we are stating that our town stands up for all the children in our community,” she said. “For all of us in West Orange, we will be a better town if we pass this resolution.”
The next town council meeting will be held on Feb. 6.
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