Unauthorized Youth Rise Against Oppression Nationwide
If you're on the Internet and you haven't heard of the DREAM Act, you're not doing it right. Seriously, just throw your computer out the window right now. Keeping your computer is not worth your money or your time...
If you're still here, I'll let you get away with watching this video:
Today, in one of the most impressive youth-led campaigns of the contemporary migrant rights movement, hundreds of youth from over 15 states will converge on Washington D.C. to demonstrate for the DREAM Act. For those who cannot make it solidarity actions will be planned in a dozen states. The National DREAM Act Graduation Day on June 23, 2009 "will underscore the importance of advancing the 'DREAM Act' and the 'American Dream Act' to give these youth a chance to attend college and pursue their goals."
The United We Dream Coalition, of which Citizen Orange is a member (or better said, a supporter), has led the charge in pressuring for the passage of the DREAM Act. The way people converge around the DREAM Act is unlike anything I've ever seen. There's real movement here. The organizing going into passing the DREAM Act will last long beyond the passage of a piece of legislation.
The biggest victory, so far, of the National DREAM Act Graduation Day has been a powerful endorsement of the DREAM Act by the Service Employees International Union:
Remember what it was like when you had a dream? For many immigrant students their dreams of pursuing higher education can't be realized because of their immigration status -- even though they may have lived here most of their lives. Unlike their U.S. born classmates, they can't work legally or qualify for a driver's license or federal financial aid for college, and they are forced to live in constant fear of deportation to a land they barely remember.Pay special attention to the passage that I bolded. This is extremely strong language in favor of the DREAM Act. This strong language is in no doubt due to the influence of Josh Bernstein, the new Director of Immigration for SEIU, and one of the nation's greatest legislative champion's for the DREAM Act. When (not if) the DREAM Act is passed unauthorized youth will owe a great debt to the efforts of Josh Bernstein.
On Tuesday, over 500 immigrant students from all over the country are coming to Washington, DC in pursuit of making their dreams come true.
While they are here, they'll be lobbying their Senators and Congressmen to pass the Dream Act, which would allow immigrant students who've grown up here to hope for a better future and a chance at higher education. And to dramatize the contribution they could make -- if only given the chance -- they will hold a graduation ceremony outside of the U.S. Capitol .
Help make their dreams come true by signing their diploma in support of the Dream Act and at the graduation - with your help - I'll unfurl the diploma at the ceremony for the graduates to see our support.
A disproportionate number of these DREAMers are valedictorians, honor students, class presidents or student leaders, and they include SEIU members and the children of our members.
Their DREAM - passage of the Dream Act -- is a part of the battle for comprehensive reform that our union strongly supports. It will be included in any comprehensive immigration reform that makes it through congress. It also could be enacted on its own, and if that happens, it would be a hopeful signal that comprehensive immigration reform is on its way. (emphasis mine)Josh Bernstein - SEIU (19 June 2009)
Bernstein is taking an extremely aggressive stance in favor of the DREAM Act, one that is favored by myself. I believe strongly that we need a victory on migration policy as quickly as possible. Migrants have suffered too long under a horrific policy of attrition through enforcement. I'm willing to wait until the fall to see if the push for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) is going to happen, but as soon as CIR looks like it's going to get pushed back to 2011, I will push hard to get the DREAM Act passed on it's own. The U.S. migration movement needs a victory, and I believe the DREAM Act is the best chance at victory.
In considering these broader legislative strategies, it is important that I acknowledge the work that has put the DREAM Act in such a good position. It is the work of the United We Dream Coalition, and the online work of dreamactivist.org that has brought us to this day. If you do nothing else after reading this entire post, sign the petition in favor of the DREAM Act at dreamact2009.com.