Everybody knows that dreamers never give up.
And that’s true for the young, undocumented immigrant Dreamers who for 10 years have fought for the opportunity to get an education.
Tomorrow a group of them from our city are launching a week of action to raise awareness about the New York DREAM Act. These gifted young people will travel to Albany to lobby lawmakers for passage of the bill introduced in the legislature granting undocumented students access to state financial aid.
“Every year thousands of undocumented youth graduate from New York high schools and face an uncertain future because of their immigration status,” says the New York State Leadership Council, the main group behind the week of actions. “For years the federal government has failed our communities by refusing to pass the DREAM Act. It’s time for New York State to act and pass the New York DREAM Act.”
The action week is stepping off on the right foot. Last Thursday the legislation received the endorsement of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. In her State of the City address Quinn urged Albany to pass the act.
“[We celebrate her commitment to] support the passage of the New York State DREAM legislation that will open the path to higher education for all New York youth, including undocumented students,” said Ana María Archila, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, a grass roots group and strong supporter on immigrant youth.
Mayor Bloomberg is also on record supporting the measure.
As support for passage grows in the state Dreamers, disappointed and frustrated by the lack of action in Washington must be surprised at recent remarks from Tea Party poster boy Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
At the annual Hispanic Leadership Network meeting Rubino, a backer of Arizona’s anti-immigrant laws, told the gathering:
“There is broad support in America for the notion that for those children that were brought here at a very young age, by their parents through no fault of their own, who have grown up here their entire lives, and now want to serve in the military or are high academic achievers and want to go to school and contribute to America’s future, I think there is broad bipartisan support for the notion that we should somehow figure out a way to accommodate them.”
Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrant parents, is all of a sudden a DREAM Act supporter? I don’t think so, and neither does Presente Action, a national pro-immigrant group, that aired a TV ad in Florida making clear that Rubio’s conversion is nothing but a blatant vote-getting gimmick.
Using information from recent Pew Hispanic Center and Latino Decisions polls, the ad points out that “88% of Latinos support legalization for undocumented immigrants.” The spot follows up with a quote from Rubio: “I am not and I will never support — never have and never will support — any effort to grant blanket legalization.” The key word here in “never.”
The ad continues by noting “91% of Latinos support the DREAM Act, which allows undocumented youth to attend college.” Rubio is again quoted, this time on the plight of Dreamers: “People in the U.S. who are here without documents should not benefit from programs like in-state tuition.”
So, what is it Mr. Senator, Dream Act or no Dream Act?
After so many years of broken promises and outright hostility New York Dreamers have learned not to place their trust in people like Rubio and their cynical electoral gimmicks.
That’s why they are not waiting for anybody any more and tomorrow will launch a week of action.
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