California families affected by the negative parts of immigration may have a friend in the DREAMers. One woman whose family members became detained by immigration authorities secured the help of DREAM Act advocates, and soon after they stepped in, the family members were released. DREAMers are young undocumented people living in this country, and they have answered the call to action in securing rights for immigrants across the country. Once attention was called to the plight of her family, officials received numerous phone calls, and although authorities claim that the activism was not related to the family’s release, the woman believes that the pressure applied ultimately resulted in their reunion.
Many people detained have no access to legal services or a way to contact their families. The DREAM Act, known as the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, is a bill intended to promote offering citizenship to younger immigrants who may have come to this country illegally. While the bill did not successfully pass, advocates of immigration reform are continuing to lobby for greater rights.
Government officials are beginning to listen to the DREAMers, and offered the woman the opportunity to tell her story at a large political convention. She told the story of her achievement, but also spoke of the difficulties and limitations she experienced as a result of her undocumented status. Once the current administration extended a reprieve for undocumented young immigrants, it reportedly gave the activists clout and pushed them into the forefront of the immigration debate. Even though the DREAM Act was unsuccessful, they are continuing to lobby in hopes of finding ways to keep undocumented families together and secure more rights while they fight to become citizens.
California immigrants may feel a very real fear of deportation if they become detained by immigration officials. With activists like the DREAMers, their fear might be lessened because people are beginning to listen. They seek equality for immigrants in this country and reform from the sometimes unfair deportation system. Any immigrant who feels they are being unfairly targeted has the right to secure legal assistance. Calling attention to their plight may very well be the first step people may take to secure citizenship in this country.
Source: CNN, “DREAMer’s clout increases in immigration debate,” Mariano Castillo, Jan. 26, 2013