AFTER TWO YEARS OF ORGANIZING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DELIVERS
After two years of organizing, the Obama administration delivers
The United We Dream Network (UWD) welcomes today’s announcement by President Obama to grant temporary relief to DREAM Act beneficiaries as a momentous act of courage and a profoundly important step toward justice for immigrant youth. The announcement comes after two years of organizing and advocacy by DREAMers to ensure that their lives are not put on hold and that their families are not torn apart because of Congress’ failure to act.
In 2010, DREAMers began asking President Barack Obama to stop deporting immigrant youth and separating their families. Following the Congress’s failure to pass the DREAM Act, DREAMers regrouped and launched their “End Our Pain” campaign, successfully stopping over 30 deportations and winning review of 145 cases. This campaign included the October 12, 2011 sit-in by five DREAMers inside the Los Angeles office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to protest the continued deportation of immigrant youth.
Last month, UWD launched the “RighttoDREAM” campaign with coordinated rallies, marches and protests around the country. Undocumented youth and community allies courageously called on President Obama to use his executive power to provide security of residence to DREAM Act-eligible youth and to stop the separation of immigrant families.
Today’s announcement answers the DREAMers’ call for immigrant justice and responds to the concerns of congressional and civic leaders across the political spectrum. Key Congressional members, from long-time champions like Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), to Republicans including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), as well as labor, education, and faith organizations have all joined UWD in calling for action on behalf of DREAMers.
“Today, we have tears of joy,” said Lorella Praeli, member of the UWD National Coordinating Committee. “President Obama’s announcement brings peace and relief to many DREAMers. It is one step in the right direction after years of work that will allow students to apply their professional degrees and know that they need not fear deportation, that they will be able to continue living as Americans in the only country they call home,” Praeli said.
“I’ll be walking in my black cap and gown today. I am graduating from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. As I celebrate this joyous day, I am thrilled that I will have the chance to use my degree to contribute to my community and to live to my fullest potential,”said DREAMer Leslye Osegueda.
While UWD welcomes this temporary solution, it stresses that a long-lasting solution is necessary and can only come through policy reform that provides a path to citizenship and allows undocumented youth to fully contribute to this nation. UWD calls on Congress to follow the President’s lead by passing legislation ensuring that relief for DREAMers is made permanent.
United We Dream is a national network led by immigrant youth that organize and advocate for access to higher education and legal status for all.