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UMD Student Lobbying for Immigrant Rights in D.C.

Baihly Warfield
December 06, 2017 10:44 PM

Mike Kenyanya, a UMD student, is spending the week before finals in Washington, D.C. to advocate for a cause he believes is worth missing the study time. 

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Kenyanya spent Tuesday meeting with legislators or staffers about immigrant causes: passing a clean DREAM Act and creating a permanent solution for TPS, or Temporary Protected Status. He personally met with Rep. Rick Nolan, and he talked to staffers from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Tom Emmer and Rep. Erik Paulsen. 

"People don't realize how many people are affected by it," Kenyanya said over FaceTime. "I have close friends that I just found out were DACA recipients just recently, people I've known for a long time. But that's not something people always share."

Kenyanya made the decision last minute, and he said it's not so much about immigration as it is about keeping families together. 

"The only thing that would be worse than this administration's agenda would be our silence," Kenyanya said. 

He said the people he has met in D.C. have only reinforced his views. 

"I met a guy named Raymond from Atlanta here who's been in this country since he was 1. And this is the only country he knows," Kenyanya said. "He's American for all intents and purposes. I don't think a piece of paper makes you American."


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Baihly Warfield

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