If you have not heard of the #Dream9, then I taken upon myself to tell you about this group of young Dreamers (undocumented youth). They are part of the bigger movement of youth pushing for humane and comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S.
On July 22, 2013 in an attempt to challenge the Obama administration deportation policy, a group of nine Dreamers, three of which crossed the border into Mexico, attempted to ask for their lawful entry through a request of humanitarian parole at the Nogales, Arizona port of entry.
This action alone resulted in their detention as Department of Homeland Security reviews their requests. 11 days have passed and they continue to be locked up, with difficulty in communicating with their families and even placed in solitary confinement. This is the treatment that young organizers who pose no threat to national security are receiving by immigration authorities. Unfortunately, their experience is that of many that are trapped in the detention system.
I know what it is to be detained, but my stay did not last a day as I was expediently removed from a country I knew to be home for almost 20 years. I can only imagine what it is to be locked for a prolonged period of time. Indefinite detention is what these Dreamers are facing.
Criticism has arisen from a faction within the immigrant movement about the actions of Dream9, even calling it a “diversion” and a “publicity stunt”. Call it what you may, I finally feel there is a group within the immigrant movement that has addressed our plight, those of us that were forcedly uprooted from our homes and communities. Public debate on immigration reform has only focused around the 11 million undocumented immigrants that currently live in the U.S. but tend to forget about the rest of us; the only difference between us and the 11 million is that immigration reform will have come too late.
These Dreamers are experiencing legal challenges with their request to return, thus highlighting the inadequacies of an immigration system that is incapable of addressing individual circumstances of its non-citizens. Why did the three Dreamers cross the border into Mexico knowing they would not be able to return? To remind us that the U.S. immigration system is broken and reform is needed now. Although for Dream9, it could come at a high price. Some of us have already experienced this loss.
For over 10 years, the Dreamer movement has grown out to claim what has been denied to them; to be accepted as contributing citizens. They have protested in the streets, organized massive rallies, confronted police and immigration agencies, staged sit-ins in legislators’ offices, and even lobbied Congress. But after every election cycle, they have nothing to show for it; mostly a consequence of the inadequacy of Washington D.C. to address the issue rather than the effectiveness of the Dreamer mobilization. If I were to make a wild guess, I think this is the reason why Dream9 took it upon themselves to challenge a “system of expulsion” that keeps separating families. For these families, waiting is no longer an option.
Regardless of the outcome from this act of disobedience, I join those who believe it to be “one of the most powerful protests in immigration reform”.
As a member of Los Otros Dreamers, I stand in solidarity with Dream9 and ask the Obama Administration to do the right thing and let these Dreamers join their communities and homes in the U.S.
Mr. President, the action that your administration takes on this issue will be a reflection on your real stance with respect to the immigrant community.
Click here to read letter we addressed to President Obama.
To listen to our recent Spanish radio interview with Ruben Tapia in Enfoque Latino KPFK 90.7 FM about Los Otros Dreamers actions in solidarity with Dream 9, click below:
Updated August 3, 2013