From Pennsylvania to Florida to Washington, DC, young undocumented immigrants whose parents brought them to the U.S. as small children are beginning to stage protests across the country, a “coming out” of sorts, claiming themselves “Undocumented and Unafraid!”
But it’s about more than just the precarious “coming out:” They want the same civil liberties as American citizens—or at the very least, a fair shake at attaining them.
On March 14, two young college students, Tania Chairez and Jessica Hyejin Lee—both admittedly undocumented immigrants—walked into the Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in downtown Philadelphia and handed over letters demanding the release of Miguel Orellana, an undocumented immigrant who has been detained for more than eight months at a Pennsylvania detention center.
Then, after making their demand, the two students sat down in the middle of the street, and began shouting “Undocumented, Unafraid! and Unapologetic!,” putting themselves at risk of deportation. Eventually, they were arrested. But they have not been deported.
Two years ago when Congress put forth the immigration reform bill entitled, the DREAM Act, it seemed a pathway finally had been forged for some undocumented immigrants who had lived in the U.S. all of their lives, paid taxes, stayed out of trouble and attended school. These immigrants proudly called themselves, “DREAMERS.” But the bill failed in Congress.
Seemingly, with no recourse in sight in the recent foreseeable future, undocumented students are dangerously putting their own status at risk, in the hopes it will start another serious dialogue and possibly change the future outcome of other DREAMERS.
Should college students with clean records whose parents brought them to the U.S. when they were children be given a path to citizenship? Or should they be considered for deportation as would any other illegal immigrant?
Take our poll, and tell us what you think in the comments.