Immigration Roundup: Dream Act Demonstrations Across the Nation

Three years since the U.S. Senate voted on, and rejected, the DREAM Act in 2007, young activists across the nation are creatively rallying for the Act, with the hope that this year the immigration reform act will pass.

The Act, which is drawing substantial support from high school and college-age youth, would give undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, the opportunity to gain citizenship over a six-year period, on the condition that applicants either serve in the military or pursue a degree at an institute of higher education.

With its youth-led movement, demonstrators aren’t simply sticking to sign-waving and poster-making. In recent weeks, a slew of head-turning DREAM Act demonstrations have made news around the nation.

In Nebraska this week, one 17-year-old decided to raise some attention for the Act by marching to the state Capitol – a 200 mile march. Daniel Dominguez, a recent high school graduate, arrived in Lincoln Wednesday afternoon after making the five-day trek from his hometown of O’Neill.

Each year, the Urban Institute estimates that 65,000 undocumented immigrants graduate from American high schools and are currently ineligible for citizenship. Without documentation, these students will not qualify for most workplaces.

At the beginning of the year, four student supporters of the DREAM Act had an idea similar to Dominguez’s, and walked to the nation’s Capitol. They started from Miami, Florida, and arrived in Washington D.C. about five months after starting. The four protestors named the 1,500 mile walk the “Trail of Dreams.”

Currently, youth activists in New York trying to get the attention of Sen. Charles Schumer, are taking part in a hunger strike outside of the senator’s office in Midtown Manhattan. According to the group’s Facebook page, they would like Schumer, who is listed as a co-sponsor of the federal act, to be more proactive about moving the Act through congress to become a bill. The group of about 10 protestors began their strike on June 1.

The actual effectiveness of these, and all the other, DREAM Act protests remains to be seen. Yet, one must still acknowledge that America’s youth is making a loud effort to raise attention to this act, as well as the issue of immigration reform. Many of the protestors themselves are undocumented immigrants who are risking their personal security to publicly support the cause.

Read more at The Opportunity Agenda website.

Tags: immigration, dream act, Opportunity (all tags)

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