I can barely imagine how much guts it took to be one of the young undocumented immigrants who “came out” yesterday near CPCC. They’re primarily people who were brought here at a very young age and grew up in this country as the children of undocumented immigrants. Faced with a stubborn streak of nativist prejudice that condemns them, and supposed allies in Washington who jerk them around, yesterday’s protesters took their situation into their own hands, raising public awareness of their existence and their plight. All told, 15 protesters were arrested, according to the police.
What the protesters want, besides increased awareness, is for the federal government to pass the Dream Act, which would offer a path to legal status for people in their situation. Despite — or, more likely, because of — Obama administration support of the Dream Act, Congress has failed to pass the bill on several occasions.
Last month, the Obama administration suspended deportation proceedings against undocumented immigrants who pose no threat to national security or public safety — people who have no criminal records and are considered “lower priority” because they are attending school, were brought here as children, have family in the military or have primary responsibility for other family members’ care. The White House says it wants to see Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) focusing more on cases involving serious criminal acts. Immigrant advocates, among them activists who support the Dream Act, say full legislation is necessary since the new ICE orders could otherwise be reversed by future administrations.
Last month’s move by Obama was the right one to make, as we noted at the time, but the protesters are right: go ahead and put the Dream Act on the books. Here’s wishing success to the gutsy protesters, and a long future in America. One of the people arrested yesterday was Alicia Torres, who is part of the N.C. Dream Team organization which organized the protest. Here is a video of Torres, explaining why people like she are coming out publicly.