WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) released the following statement after meeting with Nevada Dreamer Tawheeda Wahabzada. Tawheeda grew up in Carson City, Nevada, and has temporary legal status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In August, Tawheeda published an op-ed in the New York Times in which she revealed her DACA status and her decision to leave the United States in 2020.
“Dreamers like Tawheeda have bright futures, are among the best our country has to offer, and now we’re losing her as she plans to leave the country to escape a life in limbo,” said Senator Rosen. “I am thankful for the opportunity to sit down with Tawheeda, listen to her story, and learn her struggles. We must protect and empower Dreamers like her. I will continue fighting to pass comprehensive immigration reform that modernizes our outdated immigration system and protects our Dreamers so they can continue to be a part of our communities.”
“DACA opened doors that allowed me to focus on my dream of pursuing a career in human rights and international affairs,” said Tawheeda Wahabzada. “Though I do not see a permanent fix in the near horizon, I remain hopeful that, with the support of allies like Senator Rosen, Dreamers like me who have the desire to continue contributing to the United States, the only country we call home, will be given the opportunity to do so.”
BACKGROUND: Tawheeda was born in Toronto and was brought to the United States at age five by her parents, who were refugees from Afghanistan. She grew up in Carson City, from kindergarten until she left for college to the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a degree in international affairs and French. Because of DACA, she was able to obtain her driver’s license and later her master’s degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. She currently works as a senior researcher at a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C.
In January, Rosen co-sponsored the Protect Dreamer Confidentiality Act of 2019 (S. 197), which would safeguard the private information — such as addresses and telephone numbers — of DACA applicants to ensure that they are not targeted for deportation. Specifically, S. 197 protects DACA application information from being disclosed to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) for any purpose, other than implementing DACA.
In April, Rosen co-sponsored the American Dream Employment Act (S. 1095), which would change the law to make Dreamers – immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and lack documentation – eligible candidates for jobs on Capitol Hill. Currently, eligibility for employment in the federal government, including the House and Senate, is restricted by a provision that is included yearly in the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill.
In October, Rosen joined 49 current and former Senators and 123 current and former U.S. Representatives in filing a bipartisan amicus brief in the Supreme Court supporting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Also in October, Rosen joined U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-NM-03) in holding a press conference alongside plaintiffs in the upcoming Supreme Court DACA cases calling on Congress to pass legislation to protect our nation’s Dreamers.
Last Congress, then-Congresswoman Rosen was an original co-sponsor of the bipartisan United and Securing America (USA) Act and the bipartisan DREAM Act, both of which would provide a path to legal permanent residency and eventual citizenship for Dreamers.
Nevada is home to an estimated 13,000 DACA recipients.