DREAM Act: January 2011 Archives
Sign the petition asking ICE to halt the deportation of Jonathan Chavez.
If Obama wants the support of pro-migrant voters in 2012, he should place a moratorium on deportation of DREAM-eligible youth. This wouldn't constitute passing the DREAM Act on the sly, such a moratorium would only benefit Dreamers in removal proceedings. There would be no path to citizenship, only limbo for Dreamers who would otherwise be deported.
If pro-migrant voters want immigration reform to move forward, we should not accept anything less from President Obama than a written policy of granting deferred action to Dreamers in removal proceedings. His actions thus far demonstrate that he will only move on immigration policy when pushed. So far, conservatives have pushed him a lot harder than the pro-migrant community has, and he has responded by deporting record numbers of people. This represents a strategic failure by advocates, one which occurred in part because D.C. immigrant advocacy organizations have represented the interests of Democratic politicians instead of the interests of immigrant communities.
How many young people like Jonathan Chavez will be deported before groups like RI4A, AILA, SEIU, and the National Immigration Forum confront President Obama for destroying immigrant communities?
How long will supporters of these groups continue to allow organizational leadership to disrespect immigrant communities in this way? Only as long as we let them ...
In case you missed it, Barack Obama had this to say about immigration during his State of the Union address last night:
One last point about education. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens. Some are the children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation. Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense.
Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let's agree to make that effort. And let's stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.Barack Obama (25 January 2011)
I now realize that the only way for me to be able to stay in Arizona, my home, is for President Obama to allow for me to stay. It is his choice whether I am deported to a country I do not know or if I am allowed to stay in Arizona and give back to my community. I ask President Obama to please let me serve this nation.
This is exactly right. At this point, it is President Obama's choice whether to deport Pedro and other Dreamers in removal proceedings, or to stand with the immigrant community on the side of justice.
Which will he choose?
Via America's Voice, Pedro Gutierrez speaks about his difficult childhood and his dream to join the Marines.
[Take action here to help stop Pedro's deportation.]
Unfortunately, until President Obama takes targeted administrative action to defer the deportation of DREAM Act-eligible youth in removal proceedings, ICE will continue to deport Dreamers like Pedro. And for every Dreamer that we see in the papers, there are hundreds who are deported quietly, under the radar.
Via Dreamactivist.org, please take action to stop ICE from deporting Dreamer Pedro Gutierrez:
1. Send a fax asking for his deportation to be delayed! (Thanks to America's Voice for their staunch support of Dreamers.)
2. Sign the petition urging members to step in and stop his deportation.
Despite President Obama's expressions of support for Dreamers, under his supervision, ICE continues to deport Dreamers every single day. Until President Obama takes administrative action to defer the deportation of Dreamers in removal proceedings, his words of support remain just that: words.
At this moment, President Obama is the single person whose actions most directly negatively affect Dreamers, and he is also the single person with the most power to stop these deportations. He can only continue to say one thing and do another as long as he is not called out on this hypocrisy.
[Image: Freedom Riders John Lewis (left) and Jim Zwerg; credit: Corbis]
PBS's American Experience is recruiting applicants for its 2011 Student Freedom Ride, "a journey retracing the historic civil rights bus rides that changed America." Forty college students around the country will be chosen to ride along with original Freedom Riders in May 2011 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the original rides. Those who are interested can apply online here. (Note: the application deadline is this Monday, January 17.)
The original Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated south in 1961 shortly after the Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in terminals serving buses that crossed state lines. They were brutally beaten, their buses were firebombed, and many were arrested by local police in contravention of the Supreme Court's ruling.
The mainstream reaction was not favorable to the riders, who were viewed as unnecessarily provoking social division. Attorney General Robert Kennedy called for a "cooling off" period where activists would refrain from direct action, a request echoed by President Kennedy.
The violence that marks the minds and bodies of immigrant youth today is often hidden, coming in early morning raids that spirit young people away to unseen detention centers, camouflaged in official euphemisms like "security" and "removal." Still, the violence bubbles up in attacks on youth with names like Jose and Luis, fatal shootings of unarmed teenagers by the border patrol, and suicides by those who see no future for themselves.
The mainstream reaction to direct action is still often disapproval. Thoughtful challenges to the status quo provoke condemnation from the comfortable and the powerful, which confirms the effectiveness of targeted direct action.
I hope that young activists in the LGBT and immigrant rights movements consider applying to join the upcoming commemorative Freedom Ride. Dreamers risk long-term imprisonment and exile simply for showing themselves in public under the system of legalized injustice masquerading as immigration law. By selecting Dreamers to join the ride, PBS would ensure that it would be historic as well as historical. But first they need some applicants to choose--Dreamers, apply here!
I don't plan on letting him get deported any time soon, though, so I thought it would be good for me to visit his family while I was here in Guatemala. I'm bringing a video of him for his family to watch and will try to bring a video back to Selvin. If you're all lucky, and Selvin says it's okay, I'll be able to edit out something of the whole experience for all of you to see.
Wish me luck in the meantime. I'll be back in Boston on Friday and back to pushing full force to empower migrants.
California Assemblyman Gil Cedillo reintroduced a bill today that would make undocumented college students in California eligible for in-state financial aid. Prospects for passage of the California Dream Act are brighter this year since Governor Jerry Brown said he supported a previous version of the bill, while Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed it three times.
As a state measure, the law would have no effect on an applicant's immigration status, which falls under federal authority. Even so, passage of the bill would help undocumented residents of California pursue a college education and demonstrate the organizing power of migrant youth.
Please take a moment to sign the petition at DreamActivist asking Governor Brown and the California state legislature to pass the California Dream Act.
Stanley Renshon of the Center for Immigration Studies, an anti-immigrant think tank, wrote last week about the DREAM Act:
Anyone with a heart as well as brain recognizes that children brought here by their parents illegally at a very young age are different in many ways from those old enough to know better but who choose to break our immigration laws almost wholly to satisfy their own self-interest.
The question is: what to do about this difficult set of circumstances?
The answer is simple: Pass the DREAM Act.
But Renshon and the two other "compassionate" conservatives he cites in his blog post--Mark Krikorian and Debra Saunders--don't support the DREAM Act in its most recent form. Instead, they discuss some future DREAM Act to be written by conservative lawmakers which would "not include egregious loopholes."
I am skeptical for a few reasons.