The Education Not Deportation (END) Project was started in 2010 to stop the deportation of DREAMers and their families by highlighting their stories and galvanizing support from the community. The theory of change is that DREAMers can expose the moral crisis around immigrants facing imminent deportation and create a state of urgency to push for and win administrative relief for families and achieve policy changes to end the pain in our communities. By continuing the lift up the ways our broken immigration system separates families, we can also put pressure on our elected officials to pass immigration reform that creates a direct path to citizenship and ends senseless deportations.
The very first END case, before the program was even established, happened in June 2009. Walter Lara learned that he had only nine days before the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency was going to deport him to Argentina. While he’d been told his case was a dead end, young immigrant leaders rolled up their sleeves and organized the impossible.
Harnessing the power of organizing, collaboration, and advocacy, the United We Dream Network (UWD), along with Students Working For Equal Rights (SWER), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), waged a multi-pronged campaign to halt Walter’s deportation in just four days. Their round-the-clock efforts made Walter’s case a national story, galvanizing supporters to flood ICE with thousands of faxes and calls and resulting in a huge victory– the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decided to exercise discretion and grant Walter a one-year stay.
Over 100 END cases have been fought and resolved in less than two years, thanks to the efforts of over thirty END Field Coordinators. While UWD’s tireless advocacy led to President Obama finally granting relief to DREAMers in June 2012, some DREAMers are not eligible for the program and DREAMers’ families and communities continues to live in fear of deportation. President Obama has the highest record of deportations in history and UWD has recommitted to fight to stop not only the deportation of DREAMers, but also of their parents.