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The last few weeks were thoroughly exhausting. Between the long week in D.C., the non-gay drama (highly boring) of my father and some promigrant bloggers, a horrible court decision against us, the exhausting but exhilarating National DREAM graduation and efforts to save Walter Lara, I am just about ready to move on.
But I made a commitment, hence I am a hero to some, a burden to my mother and I happen to stand in the way of my own dreams by staying here.
Something still troubles me–the way SEIU swept in to co-opt the work of undocumented student leaders the last week of Walter Lara’s deportation. Lets be honest and forthright–Walter would have gotten a stay of deportation without their new media efforts. It is absolutely outrageous that SWER did not get credit for all their hard-work. DreamActivist could have done more had their hands not been tied by lack of software (people are laying eggs on the contract as I write). Of course, the limits and top-down know-nothing nature of SEIU became more apparent when their action this week to sustain momentum asked supporters to ‘Call Congress’ for the DREAM Act. That is such a bright idea! Why didn’t we think of it before now?! Oh, this time, instead of calling our Senators directly, we would have to give SEIU our information in order to call. SEIU should stick to raiding real unions to bring home the bacon. Oops, I guess the real labor movement opposes that too. No offense to Josh Bernstein; his work and support for DREAM students is always welcome.
I just wonder where these DC orgs go when a non-honors student is facing deportation, when Sarjina Emy stayed in detention for two years and finally broke down and went back to Bangladesh, and when a case does not look winnable. Why are some immigrants disposable? My mother never went to college, is a janitor who supports the entire family and pays thousands in taxes; my grandmother does not speak English, never worked or paid taxes in this country, cashes in her social security checks; I have a Master’s but don’t make any financial contributions, hence don’t pay taxes and can’t stand this country–Who would you deport?
Where do we go from here? Well, if I had $10 million to organize, I would be heavily investing in DREAM college graduates with organizing experiences to lead the movement for immigration reform. A $10K summer stipend to organize in key states with another $10K in materials would do the job. That would make a lot more sense than hiring field organizers without infrastructure and materials.
A 50-state strategy is also stupid. This isn’t the movement for marriage equality! It’s a Congressional numbers game–focus on the 15 big states with the most representatives and the states with Senators who happen to be (non-gay) swingers.
How to sustain momentum? It still looks like one DREAMIE at a time. A new suit of hopeful students will come forward looking seeking help. BTW-If you are DREAM Act eligible and currently in removal proceedings, please fill out this form to seek further assistance.
I’ll sign off with some positive vibes. Marisol seems to be having a whole lot of fun in DC at the New Organizing #bootcamp09 and she is part of the BatWomanforDC campaign. It’s Bettewoman for me — don’t forget to vote this Friday! Yes, more list-building campaigns. I hope someone conducting new media and Web 2.0 trainings does note that lists are nothing without grassroots power.