“This Town Was Built By Dreamers”

As political leaders debate the fate of Dreamers — 800,000 undocumented migrants who arrived in the US before the age of 16 — a small group of Westporters stood on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen downtown bridge this afternoon, protesting President Trump’s proposed repeal of the DACA program.

Holding a sign festooned with flags of various countries — including the US and Italy — the group reminded passing motorists that Westport owes a great debt to immigrants.

Laws were much looser in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the ancestors of many Westporters came here to work.

Darcy Hicks, Melissa Kane, Sarah Kempner and Lauren Soloff, with their message. (Photo/Theo Koskoff)

Midway through the event, a car stopped. Two men got out, and approached the group.

Slowly, Jose and Robert shook the hands of every protester. They thanked the group for representing them.

Both men are Dreamers.

Then they got back in their car, and drove off.

They were on their way to work.

One of the Dreamers, thanking a protester. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

37 responses to ““This Town Was Built By Dreamers”

  1. I am immigrant in this country and although may not fall under the definition of DAC, I am a dreamer, and I want to ensure my children know everyone can be

  2. Thank you women of the bridge! Thanks Dan for this beautiful story.

  3. Mary Cookman Schmerker '58

    That’s my home town. How special you are. But you are making me cry… proud tears.

  4. Carl Addison Swanson, Esq.

    All the immigration laws need to be reformed. The confusion results from many individual countries have separate agreements with the USA e.g. a treaty with El Salvador allows immigrants extended visas. Not only are we losing many immigrant college-trained graduates but also face the issue of 12-20 million undocumented immigrants here. The Senate passed a comprehensive reform bill in 2013 but the House refused to hear it. Time for a total overhaul of these laws which have been kicked down the road since Reagan.

  5. “Diversity Immigrant Visa”, aka “green card”, which came in handy for many years. Today, it wouldn’t pass.

    • Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

      As a lifelong Westporter and descendent of fairly recent legal immigrants, I share your sentiments and wish our elected legislative officials could have kept our laws consistent with our heritage. But they haven’t and I look forward to the day when they will be held accountable for this and other failures that undermine our democracy and threaten the future not only for law-abiding citizens but for those aspiring to become one. The rest can go to Hell where they belong.

  6. I too am a descendant of dreamers, as all Americans truly are one way or another, seeking the chance for a better life, including Native Americans, who history tells us crossed via the Bering Strait from Asia.

    My paternal ancestor came to Hartford, CT from Coventry, England in 1636, The son of prosperous farmers, Francis Bradley was 15 years old and came alone.

    My mother’s parents, Daniel and Anne Trivers, grew up and married in Glasgow, Scotland, and after their first child, a son – also Daniel, was born they emigrated to Bridgeport, CT. My mother, Ina Bradley, was their first child born here. Twin girls and a second boy followed and that was the family. I never knew this grandfather, who died when my mother was about 14 years old. They struggled throughout their lives but never looked back and contributed as best they could to the country which welcomed them.

    I cannot imagine that the hope, freedom and promise which sustained my family would be denied to others who have the same aspirations, and especially to those who were brought here as children, for whom America is their country, really all they have ever known. They surely are as American as I or any of the rest of us are.

    I salute the women on the bridge! Once again, I’m proud of my Westport! Thank you, ladies for standing up for what is right and fair.

  7. Whoa !! Back to Civics 101-
    Our system of governance is based on division into 3 parts- administrative, legislative and judicial. Messy almost always, but for good reasons

    This applies to both Republics, conservatives, Democrats, liberals and everyone else as well

    Far too many Administrations – both flavors- have ignored this when Congress is closely divided and laws they want cannot get passed– and we get a worse mess with unintended consequences- which needs cleaning up– and a reversion to Congress to sort out a broadly argued and negotiated Legislation which Administration (President) either signs in LAW, or Congress passes again with sufficient margin to make law !!
    THAT is what Trump ( hate him or sortof like – rarely love! – or not at all), is attempting to achieve – at least in this case — and hopefully do for more of our grand messes– great to protest- but lets also support getting to a broader concensus to accomplish better results

  8. Well Said Paul- As a grandson of a Westport Italian immigrant, who came to this country at 14 in 1910- worked 10 hour days, six days a week and raised 13 kids, he abided by the process and rules of this country. It’s nice that our local activists have time to protest, I’m not sure I understand this one….wish these activists had the same passion for Hartford as they do for Washington. In the end what is happening in Hartford is killing the Westport Dream,

  9. Jimmy, the folks on the bridge are simply thanking people like your grandad…a “DREAMER” who workerd hard, as do current dreamers….the dreamers are NOT the illegals even if their parents are…as to the Hartford nonsense, “dreamers” paid more in taxes last year than the entire “one per cent” we read so much about…give ’em a break.

  10. Carl Addison Swanson, Esq.

    I am not sure Mr. Chapman that President Trump is trying to get any sort of consensus at all in regards to immigration reform. When your first act is to ban a certain religious sect from entry here and you call all Mexicans “rapists and criminals,” you are not setting the tone for any compromise. You seemingly have forgotten that politics plays a large part in Civics 101. Republicans prefer the cheap labor while Democrats want the potential votes. While Trump does seem to have compassion for DACA “Dreamers,” he is first and foremost an “America First” advocate who deems every American should be a citizen. The 800 pound elephant in the room is the 12-20 million undocumented workers here already which many industries rely heavily on to run their operations. And Trump used that issue, very successfully, to alienate and establish his base for his campaign to the White House which amounted to 23% of eligible voters.

    • Carl, if Trump wanted to “ban a certain religious sect from entry”, then why would he put a ban on only (7) of the predominantly Muslim countries and not a ban on all 50?
      And do you believe it’s just a coincidence that the (7) that he chose to ban were the same (7) countries that Obama named as “countries of concern” and put restrictions on?
      I would also like to ask why you believe Trump called “all Mexicans “rapists and criminals” ….can you provide the exact quote?


      • Carl Addison Swanson, Esq.

        President Obama, in 2011, stopped Iraqi refugee request for two individuals who had been caught lying on such requests and suspected of terrorists activities. He did so for only six months. President Trump banned anyone from Iraq, Syria, Iran , Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya for 90 days without any preemptive causation. Apples and oranges in any legal sense and in your supposition of comparison. In Trump’s July 16, 2015 speech, he stated: “When Mexico sends their people . . . they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.”

        • Hi Carl,
          So Trumps ban was a temporary ban, correct? And it wasn’t for a “certain religious sect”, but for certain countries, otherwise it would be a ban on all countries with that “certain religious sect”….correct?

          And Trump never called “all Mexicans “rapists and criminals” as you stated,,,,you added the word “all”. In fact, you seem to have intentionally left out the part of the speech where he said “And some, I assume, are good people.”

          Why Carl?


          • Carl Addison Swanson, Esq.

            Why? Because Trump is racist bigoted pig. On June 25, 2017, Reuters reported Trump as stating “he wants a total and complete ban on Muslims” and he tweeted himself, on June 12th, 2017, his promise for “a Muslim immigration ban.” It was only after the courts stepped in after his first executive order, did he water down his intentions. As for the Mexico, there is laundry list of tweets, 2/14/14 (“stop sending criminals over the border”) and on 2/13/15 where he tweeted “the Mexican cartel using the border unimpeded like it was a vacuum cleaner, pushing drugs and death right into the U.S.” Get your head out of your ass, Bob, this man is so contradictory and bipolar, it is a waste to analyze his ongoing semantics. But the obvious intent is there . . . as Chris Rock pointed out: “First the Muslims, then the Blacks, then the Jews.” At the core of Donald Trump and his soul mate, Bannon, is white supremacy. His initial reaction to Charlottesville was a clear indication of that. That is his base.
            Why do you defend such a bigot, Bob?
            No thanks. No reply needed. I know the answer.

            • Where in any of my statement was I defending Trump for something? If my questions or statements to you are not factual, then explain how they aren’t, rather than quoting Rueters or Chris Rock without answering the questions
              And if you “know the answer” to something, why don’t you share it, and then tell me what you are basing it on?

              • Carl Addison Swanson, Esq.

                I maintain I have answered your questions. If you have difficulty with my responses, it is your problem. That said, it is interesting that your inquires stem around the facts surrounding a neurotic bipolar pathological liar . . . and as such, open to debate by Trump trolls such as yourself.

                • Carl, you didn’t answer why you put the word “all” in a place where it doesn’t exist, and left out the word “some” where it does…..or why you assume someone is something they’re not, just because they point it out.

                  Yes, there is definitely a problem with your response…only it’s not my problem.

                  Quota up,


                  • Carl Addison Swanson, Esq.

                    I believe your questions are rhetorical in nature and the real problem is with your inquiry(ies), not my response(s). Has Woog’s blog been bought up by Briebart? I have been part of this town since 1952 and never have I witnessed the lack of compassion for young immigrants as I have with the comments throughout this post. Shameful.

                    • No worries, Carl, as it is only a matter of a short time when DJT accepts his worst nightmare — that his critics are right — and so, steps down, but only to claim complete victory (naturally).

  11. Why are so many people acting as if all these dreamers were deported yesterday? Congress was given a job to do, it is actually why they were elected!! Now lets allow them do it before the left continues melting down.

    • Carl Addison Swanson, Esq.

      Congress hasn’t done anything in 7 years and our President has no idea of how to do anything legislatively. Why would you expect them to do so now? Place yourself in a dreamer’s position and see how patient you would be?

  12. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    I’ll be very happy when and if the Congress can resolve this situation lawfully and in a manner that a quorum of American citizens can accept and which is consistent with our heritage as Americans. I don’t think its necessary to rely on Trump to get it done.

    • If Trump doesn’t sign it, it doesn’t get done.

      • A) he has bounced this to Congress to resolve this
        B) if he doesnt like what they pass ( if they do at all), he vetoes and Congress can overide. Or not

        Immensely better than dictating on such contentious and so far poorly by all prior administrations

        Dreamers are NOT legal residents. They are innocent illegals, raised as Americans. I am totally in favor of making them legal upon their request for easy green cards with perhaps special track for full citizenship

        My objection is to the protesters who were ( as I understood anyway,) protesting against Trump for abrogating Obamas fiat carte blanche rulecwhich left them still in limbo

        • Carl Addison Swanson, Esq.

          Is that what they taught you in Civics 101? That a sitting President’s total agenda is to repudiate his predecessor’s achievements? Nixon didn’t with LBJ numerous legislative programs nor did Bubba with Reagan-Bush ’41 accomplishments or Bush ’43 with Clinton’s or Obama with W’s. That is not how our Republic works. DACA shouldn’t even be an issue now if our present administration had any policies of their own. Instead, they focus on repudiation and repeal of existing law to energize their xenophobic base.

          • obama “achievements?” That’s a laugh. Trump invalidated an unconstitutional decree in DACA. Immigration is Congress’ job not The President’s. You really a lawyer (who should know that) or is the “esq” just for show?

            • Carl Addison Swanson, Esq.

              Title 8 of the United States Code, Subsection 1182 authorizes the President to act in cases of immigration. I hold a J.D. and LL.M. degrees and was a federal attorney for over a decade in Texas, 35 years of practice overall. ACA was hardly a minor achievement. Trump has not made up his mind about DACA, he changed his mind mid-sentence.

  13. … meanwhile, Canada prepares to welcome the next wave…

  14. Jeez, can’t unsubscribe fast enough !!!

  15. All points have been made. This story is closed to comments.