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Dream Act demonstration held outside King’s Seaford home

A man marches during a silent demonstration supporting

A man marches during a silent demonstration supporting the Temporary Protected Status and the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals programs outside of Rep. Peter King's Seaford home on Nov. 19, 2017. Credit: Johnny Milano

Demonstrators marched to Rep. Peter King’s home in Seaford on Sunday afternoon to pressure him to take a more active role in negotiations on immigration legislation.

Organizers held a silent vigil on the sidewalk in front of the Republican congressman’s home while calling for a “clean Dream Act” and to pass permanent protections for beneficiaries of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program.

“We need him to take more action,” Walter Barrientos, Long Island organizer with the Brentwood office of Make the Road New York, said in an interview Sunday, adding later that about 40 people showed up. “Our families are not able to celebrate the holidays.”

King has said he supports restoring protections under the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) program that President Donald Trump rescinded in September. The Obama-era program allowed people who came to the United States without proper documentation as children to remain in the country. The Trump administration has also announced it will begin ending TPS, which has allowed people fleeing conflicts or natural disasters to remain in the United States.

“I’m working on DACA and I’m working on TPS,” King said Sunday in an interview. “I’m meeting with immigrant groups all the time. I’m meeting with the church groups. It will get done.’’

Barrientos said the people facing deportation next year need King to “stand up for the families that he represents.”

Barrientos said afterward that the demonstration, which began at 3 p.m., lasted until 4:30 p.m.

Earlier Sunday, King said Make the Road New York’s planned protest in front of his home was in “bad form,” and that the organization should urge cooperation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to root out MS-13 gang members.

Barrientos said a clean Dream Act would be legislation that isn’t contingent on a deal with Trump on border security and immigration enforcement.

King said the issues are separate.

“I want a wall. I want strong border enforcement. I want a strong ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], but it has nothing to do with DACA,” King said.

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