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