Wednesday, June 16, 2010

HUNGER STRIKE ENDS; Schumer tells youth that RI4A says No to Stand-Alone Dream Act

The Dream is Coming

Thursday, June 10, 2010
Today, immigrant youth and their allies were told by Senator Chuck Schumer that he was told by the leadership of Reform Immigration For America not to move forward with the DREAM Act.

The ten participants of a ten-day long New York hunger strike in front of Senator Chuck Schumer’s offices went to his Long Island and Washington D.C. offices to hold peaceful civil disobedience actions, and to urge him to take a leading role in moving the DREAM Act forward as a stand-alone bill. Three students at the Long Island office were arrested, three students refused to leave the senator’s office in Washington D.C. until they met with him, and four held a “die-in” in front of the senator’s offices in New York.

These actions have come as part of a wave of civil disobedience actions across the country, initiated when four undocumented students staged a sit-in at Senator McCain’s office in Tucson, Arizona, and are now facing deportation. Since then, there have been hunger strikes, vigils, sit-ins, and multiple arrests made as the immigrant youth movement advocates for the DREAM Act.

The students who went to the senator’s office in Washington D.C. met with the Senator himself, at which point he proceeded to tell them that last week, there was a meeting between Senate leadership and Reform Immigration For America to talk about the future for the DREAM Act. There was no immigrant youth leadership present or even invited, notwithstanding Senator Schumer’s promise to the hunger strikers a week before that immigrant youth would have a place at the table. One of Senator Schumer’s aides informed the students that youth were not wanted at the meeting by Reform Immigration For America.

At that meeting, Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, Frank Sharry of America’s Voice, Deepak Bhargava of the Center for Community Change, and representatives of the Catholic church stated that they did not want Senator Schumer to move forward with the DREAM Act.

Every year 70,000 undocumented students graduate U.S. high schools. They have little hope of pursuing their dreams. The DREAM Act would allow immigrant youth who meet certain criteria, including coming to the US as children, having graduated from a U.S. high school, and having completed two years of college or military service, a path to citizenship.

From the hunger strikers:“We’re here because nothing else has worked. We starved for 10 daysand now we’re not leaving his office until we get a commitment for
Dream as a stand alone bill” – Jennifer Carino

“The past 10 years have been unacceptable. We’re here to make sure
another 10 years don’t go by and that children can achieve their
dreams. Enough is enough and the time is now” – Luis Rivera


“Why would you rather have youth STARVE than to support us?

Prove us wrong, and release a statement calling for stand-alone DREAM Act immediately.

Prove us wrong, and include immigrant youth, who can speak for themselves, at a meeting with congressional leadership.”

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