What if a US Senator could share a meal with a young person who has grown up American, excelled in school, given back to their community, and only needs the DREAM Act to pass so that they can fix their immigration status?
That’s what DREAMers asked themselves yesterday.
At lunchtime, DREAM students held a “study session” in the Dirksen Senate Cafeteria. After hundreds of actions, and thousands of lobby visits, members of Congress and their staff are familiar with the trademark graduation caps that for years have been used for DREAM Act “mock graduations.”
But they weren’t expecting this scene – watch it:
This was the culmination of a series of creative actions meant to get members of Congress to ask themselves one question: what part of “human being” don’t you understand? DREAMers and their allies have spent the last few weeks driving hundreds of thousands of phone calls to the congressional switchboard, and making our presence known on Capitol Hill. . . .
Because of the unprecedented level of activism from undocumented students, the DREAM Act heads to a crucial cloture vote tomorrow. Undocumented immigrants, all 10.5 million of them, (myself included) are all around us. We are part of America’s economic, financial, and cultural fabric – legalizing them would cut our deficit by $2.2 billion.
This week, hundreds of DREAMers visited the Senate, trying to make sure that it becomes impossible for senators to ignore the human side of the immigration debate.
Watch their Pledge of Allegiance. I did this pledge every day as a student at Ralston Intermediate and Loara High Schools in Orange County, CA:
The DREAM Act has been around for ten years, and the current bill has the narrowest eligibility standards to date. If Senators do not vote for this bill, they are basically echoing the anti-immigrant forces whose ideas can be summarized by three words: “DEPORT THEM ALL”.
Massive deportation would be harmful to our nation. It’s expensive, it won’t work and there is a better way.
We are going to need a handful of Republicans — from the dozen or so who used to support the DREAM Act but are now holding our futures hostage — to vote yes. We’ll need 60 votes to get past the procedures, and it will come down to every last Senator. Republican votes are going to be key, but we also need wavering Democrats like Senators Hagan, McCaskill, Pryor, Conrad, and Baucus to do the right thing and not cave like a couple of their colleagues have already done.
The Senate has been called the place where good bills go to die. This time, almost a million lives will be hanging on the decisions of a few Senators. We pray and hope they do the right thing and vote YES on the DREAM Act today.