Today a group of eight DREAM Act eligible young adults crossed the border in Nogales, Arizona entering the United States and were immediately detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The group, known as the DREAM eight, include Claudia Amaro, Adriana Gil Diaz, Luis Leon, Maria Peniche, Ceferino Santiago, Lulu Martinez, Marco Saavedra and Lizbeth Mateo. The Bring Them Home campaign was announced last week, and today news reports indicated that ICE planned to arrest the DREAM eight.
Five of the young people were either deported or self-deported because of the current immigration climate in the United States. Three of the eight are deferred action eligible. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program that was announced by the Obama administration in June of last year that allows undocumented youth who meet certain criteria to remain in the United States; this policy was announced in response to activists asking the administration to use its own discretion to provide relief to the unauthorized immigrant community.
The DREAM eight was greeted to chants on both sides of the border, “Bring them home” and “Undocumented and unafraid.” Dreamactivist.org and the National Immigrant Youth Alliance are asking supporters to contact President Obama and ICE to allow the DREAM eight to re-enter the United States to be united with their families. This action comes at a time when the immigration debate is stalled in Congress, and when campaigns for and against immigration reform are ramping up in advance of the August recess.
According to the narration of the live stream video aired by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, clergy who were present with the DREAM eight are considering forming a human chain at the border. Today’s action highlights the plight of the 1.7 million deportees that have been removed during the Obama administration and brings awareness to the humanitarian situation at the border. The immigration bill that passed the Senate includes a border surge that will double the number of agents and add fencing to the southern border.
Photo Credit: DRM Action Coalition
UPDATED 7/23/13 at 9:23 AM Pacific: According to more recent reports, nine activists were detained. Eight activists, who are named above, had originally planned to participate in the action were joined by Rosie Rojas.