DREAMer addresses civic group meeting

The Take Back Your Neighborhood civic association heard from a “DREAMer” who spoke on behalf of HIAS Pennsylvania.

The Take Back Your Neighborhood civic association last week heard from officials from the 2nd Police District and HIAS Pennsylvania.

Lt. John Craig and community relations officer Mark Mroz gave an update on crime statistics in Castor Gardens.

Cathryn Miller-Wilson and Michelle Zarate represented HIAS, which supports immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

Zarate is a so-called “DREAMer,” having been brought to the United States by her parents from Costa Rica, illegally, when she was 1. She is now 24.

When President Barack Obama issued the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act in 2012, Zarate and others like her were protected from deportation and permitted to work and obtain a driver’s license.

There are an estimated 800,000 DREAMers in the U.S.

A HIAS employee for 3½ years, Zarate works as a legal assistant, often dealing with victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Congress is debating the future of DACA, and Zarate faults President Donald Trump’s administration for dividing people on the issue.

Wilson, the HIAS executive director, said DREAMers and their families are good for America’s tax base, diversity and culture.

As for refugees, Obama limited the number entering the U.S. to 110,000 a year. Trump has lowered that figure to 45,000. Wilson described Trump’s actions as “shameful.”

“We’re turning them away like there’s no tomorrow,” she said.

In other news from the Nov. 20 meeting:

• Take Back Your Neighborhood will present Saturday with Santa on Dec. 2 from noon to 3 p.m. at Max Myers Playground, 1601 Hellerman St. The cost is $5 for a gift, candy and a picture with Santa Claus. Call Sharyn Solomon at 215–813–9806.

• Take Back Your Neighborhood will meet again on Monday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. The group will hold a holiday party that night. ••