Never Stop DREAMing

Orlando DREAM Act Prayer Walk, Photo by W. L. Doromal ©2010
December 1, 2010

Across America undocumented students are marching and rallying to support the DREAM Act, which may come up for a vote this week.  The bipartisan legislation that was originally introduced in 2001 failed to pass twice. The legislation would provide a pathway to citizenship for certain undocumented alien students.  Most of the children came to the US with their migrant immigrant parents who accepted low paying jobs. They want a chance to continue their education or join the military on a path to citizenship. Like the children of the foreign workers in the CNMI, most have no memories of their homelands.

Today in Orlando forty courageous undocumented children of migrant farm workers stood with supporters at the St. James Cathedral to support the DREAM Act. They were inspired by prayers led by Sister Ann Kendrick from the Hope Community Center and Deacon Fernando Molina from the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.  Then the supporters marched through downtown Orlando to the Orlando Office of Senator George LeMiuex (R-FL).

I called his Washington, DC office today to ask for his vote on the DREAM Act.  His staffer said he would not vote for it "until the borders were secured."  Today speakers told the crowd to never vote for LeMieux again should he fail to support the DREAM Act. In Orlando, across Florida, and across the nation the Latino community is watching this vote.

Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski said:
"If enacted, the DREAM Act would have a life-changing impact on the students who qualify, and not only for the qualifying students, but all American society would benefit. The success stories of earlier generations of child immigrants, like the Cuban children of the 1960s, Operation Pedro Pan, have amply demonstrated this.''
Will partisan games block the legislation? The GOP promised to filibuster all legislation until the Bush tax cuts were extended, but revisions in the DREAM Act make it more palatable to Republicans.  From Politico:
The latest version, filed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) late Tuesday night, would bar illegal immigrants from receiving in-state college tuition; drops the age of eligibility to 29 from 34; would not grant permanent legal status to anyone for at least 10 years; would restrict eligibility for those who commit certain misdemeanor crimes; and would limit individuals from being able to sponsor family members for U.S. citizenship, among other changes.

Those who receive conditional legal status under the DREAM Act also would be ineligible for Medicaid, food stamps and other government-funded benefits.

The new bill “simply is an effort to deal with any potential costs estimates [to] make it revenue-neutral,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the only Hispanic member of the Senate and an ardent DREAM Act advocate. “There wouldn’t be any reason for anyone to vote against it because it wouldn’t cost anything.”
Pass the DREAM Act!
Sister Ann Kendrick speaks to the crowd at St. James Cathedral, Orlando ©2010

Fruit symbolizing the crops harvested by their parents was brought to Senator George LeMiuex's Office ©2010

Some of Orlando's undocumented students rally for the DREAM Act ©2010

Students chanted: "What do we want? DREAM Act! When do we want it? NOW!"

Sister Ann Kendrick led prayers, songs and chants. ©2010

Outside Senator LeMiuex's Orlando office the returning students reported that his staffer received them graciously, but said the Senator would most likely not vote in favor of the DREAM Act. Sister Ann encouraged the students to fight on reminding them it took over 150 years for women to get the vote and many years for the Civil Rights Act to pass.

From the Prayer Walk: Leviticus 19: 33-34: When aliens settle with you in your land, you shall not oppress them.  They shall be treated as native-born among you, and you shall love them as people like yourselves, because you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord you God.


Anonymous said...

Alien worker's never stop Dreaming. One day there is still a light at the end of the tunnel

Anonymous said...

Kilili doesn't need to explicitly have a position on this law (since he doesn't vote), but it would be an interesting and brave move if he came out in favor of it.