Immigrants across America hopeful and active
Young people who would be eligible for the DREAM Act will be taking to the streets and demanding that the US Senate approve adding the DREAM Act to the Defense Reauthorization Bill. The DREAM Act, which has stalled in Congress since 2001, would create a path to legal status for youth who grew up in this country, obtain a high school degree, and commit to getting a college education or serving in the military. At a time where immigrant communities have been affected by increased enforcement and deportations, the DREAM Act vote brings hope to many families in need of relief. Students in more than 15 cities will be organizing vigils outside of Senate offices.
In Phoenix, members of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition who want to serve in the US military have been camping outside Senator John McCain’s office since Thursday. Led by Michael, a 21-year-old undocumented student and former JROTC commander, students have been practicing drills and formations. “We are hoping to be recognized for our desire to serve and protect this great country,” said Michael.
In Miami, advocates from the Florida Immigrant Coalition and Students Working for Equal Right will be holding a vigil outside of Senator George LeMieux’s office. To start off the action, 60 activists laid down in Miami Beach to spell out the messages “DREAM ACT NOW” and “CALL LEMIEUX”. LeMieux’s predecessor in the Senate, Mel Martinez, is a strong supporter of the DREAM Act.
“Undocumented students have fought against all odds to get to this point,” said United We Dream national coordinator Carlos Saavedra, “we will not stop until the DREAM Act becomes law”. On Sunday, Saavedra made a call to action on Al Punto with Jorge Ramos, the nation’s most-watched Spanish-language news talk program.
Since Tuesday’s announcement that Congress would consider the DREAM Act, dreamers have driven more than 60,000 phone calls to Congress, through phone lines provided by the United States Students Association and the Reform Immigration for America Campaign. Vigils this week will be held in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Little Rock, Milwaukee, Denver, Lexington, Nashville, Minneapolis, Wilmington (DE), Greensboro (NC), and Harrisonburg (VA), among others.
As a national immigrant youth-led organization, the mission of the United We Dream Network is to achieve equal access to higher education for all people, regardless of immigration status. We aim to address the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth and to develop a sustainable, grassroots movement, led by immigrant youth, documented and undocumented, and children of immigrants.
For more information, contact Matias Ramos at matias[at]unitedwedream.org