USA: Deportations Feared as New School Year Begins

A proposed bill that would resolve the legal status of approximately 65,000 undocumented students in the United States is still in limbo as another school year begins this month.

The DREAM Act, an eight-year-old bill that was reintroduced to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in March 2009, would create the opportunity for “good” students who arrived in the United States as children to obtain conditional legal residency.

As politicians deliberate, students across the country are seeing their education goals disrupted as threats of deportation arise. Some, are seeking support to get their deportations delayed until their fate would be determined by the new law.

“I qualify for the DREAM Act”

jorgeJorge-Alonso Chehade recently graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree. Unlike the thousands of fresh college graduates who are busy seeking employment though, Alonso is protesting for his right to remain in the U.S.

Alsonso was born in Peru and brought to the U.S. by his parents eight years ago at the age of 14. A couple of months before graduating, Alonso found himself in a difficult situation.

In an email sent via the network to supporters, Alonso explains:

“On March 14, 2009, I and a friend went to visit some friends at Western Washington University and rather than driving back home late at night we decided to stay at our friends’ place. The next morning, not being familiar with the area we took a wrong turn on the highway and ended up near the Canadian Border. I was stopped by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities and when it was discovered that I was undocumented.”

Alonso is scheduled to be deported to Peru on September 25. His flight is on September 17. With the help of other young immigrant-rights activists, he has started campaign to ask Americans for support. There is an online petition, a Facebook group, and a push to call the Department of Homeland Security.

In this video, Alonso describes his situation and why he believes people should support him.

There are other videos on YouTube in the same channel, including this video highlighting his achievements:

Another dream on hold

As described on Global Voices last month, Herta Llusho, a 19-year-old college student born in Albania, was facing deportation on August 19, but eventually had her deportation date deferred thanks to a similar campaign led by the Dream activists.

She has been given until November 9, and is using the time to encourage more Americans to support her.

On Take Part, education blogger Melanie Smollin wrote in support of Herta:

“Herta and her family still need your help. She was given an order of supervision, and told to appear at her local DHS office with her mother on November 9th, which means she isn’t out of the woods just yet. She can still be detained at any time.

Deporting this educated, talented, and ambitious young woman who is committed to becoming a productive citizen and serving her community would be an utterly senseless act, and would cause more harm than good.”

DREAM Act Day of Action: September 23

With the knowledge that thousands of undocumented students could be affected by deportation — the United We Dream Network is asking supporters to join forces on September 23 and declare a Back to School Dream Act Day of Action.

The group hopes to promote the DREAM Act legislation with rallies across the country on college campuses.

Buoyed by the success of a previous Dream Act Graduation Day on June 23, where 500 people made their way to Washington DC, they say they are confident another nationwide event will be successful:

“This time, we are going back to school to let Congress know we are part of the communities they represent.


  • Just one note – the DREAM Act is about 7-8 years old.

    Thanks for the coverage!

  • azmat

    Dreamact is for select few not for the entire illegal population in the United States. My advice will be to get deported or go back to your country of origin and then come back to the US as a legal immigrant. Its not so bad. Dont you think its wrong to break the laws of this great country and expect to be treated nicely? And what about those terrorists and their children who are here illegally and are bent on destroying this country? I think all illegals should be deported, it would help the economy immensely.

    • ChangeTheGame

      Your ignorance is extremely alarming. It is not that easy for young adults to just pick up and leave a country they have known, most of them, since they were toddlers. Do you know that when they go back to their country they cannot reenter the the U.S for 10 years!?!…I hope you did not know know that because if you did know that fact, then you are just inconsiderate! What do you suppose they do for ten years in a country that they know nothing about? These young adults did not make the decision to come here BUT many of them went on and pushed through many adversaries to rise above and because of that they deserve a chance to be legal!

      • azmat

        Alonso/no name

        Did I rattle your cage! “did I do that”

        I am sorry but you have to pay for your inherited mistakes sooner or later. Its all up to you buddy. Since you are a youngman the time will quickly fly wherever you end up. I sincerely hope you can stay in the Us, but if you can’t 10 years is not so bad, get to know your ancestral home and try to serve your people under some capacity. (Sir, If you don’t know people still live in those countries). I guarranty, you will find it rewarding. Its not so bad. Meantime, please teach people and yourself to do things legally.

    • Elodie

      Alonso is an honor student, not a terrorist Azmat. He did not choose to come here, he was not old enough to make that decision. It is not fair that he has now adapted to American life and culture and has to go back to a country he does not even know that well. He, like other students in his situation, deserves to have the opportunity to prove his potential.

  • The Obama Administration Is Still Deporting Youth: Support Jorge-Alonso Chehade…

    It is way past time that I wrote about Jorge-Alonso Chehade.  Jorge-Alonso is the fourth of a group of courageous unauthorized migrant youth who have led campaigns to stop their own deportations.  First there was Walter Lara, then there……

  • Ali

    Your ignorance is extremely alarming. It is not that easy for young adults to just pick up and leave a country they have known, most of them, since they were toddlers. ”
    Alonso came here when he was 14. That’s hardly a toddler. He knew what he was doing and so did his parents. He adjusted to life here and he can adjust to life in his homeland. Furthermore, as an Arab-American, I’m familiar with Arab names (lots of Arabs went to Latin America as well as the US and Canada) and I’d be willing to bet that Alonso’s papa is Arab (Chehade), so I really wouldn’t push the terrorism issue. I’ve also taught overseas and see no reason for my students to have to follow the law and pay steep foreign student tuition while Alonso here lies and cheats (which he did by working illegally).

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