The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, known as the DREAM Act, was first introduced in 2003. Since that time, there have been countless marches, petitions and sit-ins in an attempt to get Congress to pass it. The bill creates a path to citizenship for immigrants who arrived in the United States illegally as children and who attend college or serve in the military. In other words, the DREAM Act would allow over 800,000 youth to gain legal status and eventual citizenship. Officials from both parties have objected to this measure as an “amnesty bill.” Tea Party activists have also been at the forefront of fighting against it. There has been a sharp rise in hate crimes on the Latino community and a rash of right-wing telephone campaigns to local politicians.
The measure passed in the House 216-198. Unfortunately, while the Senate did vote 55-41, the Act failed to achieve the support of 60 senators needed to cut off a filibuster. As of now, the bill’s fate is uncertain. While it is not a comprehensive change in immigration policy, all workers should support this reform and the movement it has built. From http://www.dreamactivist.org :
This decade also saw the birth of a movement – one led by the most affected by a broken and archaic immigration system. Yes, I am talking about the DREAM Movement. Though the DREAM Act has been around for nearly a decade, for the first time in history it was not the politicians, the pundits, or the DC insiders who got us close to a victory. It was the resilience, the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice of thousands of young people and our allies that made it possible for us to get closer that we’ve ever been to passing this bill. And we will remember who blocked the DREAM Act. We will never forget who voted against the dreams of thousands of undocumented youth.
But as we move forward, as we begin a new year and a new decade, we should take a look at some of the things we have accomplished in the last couple of years.
- We started our own youth led organizations and slowly formed a national coalition – one led and powered by the hard work and resilience of Dreamers and our allies.
- We rallied, we marched, we showed our power in numbers in our states and in Washington DC.
- We organized and together we stopped the deportation of several Dreamers like Ivan.
- We organized statewide bike rides and town halls to raise awareness about the DREAM Act.
- We came out as “undocumented and unafraid”. We refused to remain silent and continue to live in fear by taking ownership of our destiny.
- We put our lives on the line by confronting those who were blocking our Dreams at the risk of arrest and deportation.
- We defended ourselves, our Dreams and our very existence in the courts of law.
- We camped outside Senatorial offices to ask for the support of our Senators.
- We starved for our dreams by engaging in 43-day hunger strikes and risked our health as a result.
- We formed an Army – an army of young people willing to serve and die for this country, and an army of DREAM lobbyists.
But most importantly, we took ownership of our movement. Like Neidi, Jonathan, Jorge and Nancy said, “we do not want immigration ‘advocates” speaking for us any longer. We demand the right to represent ourselves! […] We are building the DREAM Movement action-by-action, city-by-city, and campus-by-campus.” And you can help!