14 December 2009 ~ 0 Comments

Victory! DREAM Act Student Released from Detention

Immigrant youth usage of social media tools provided by Change.org continues with another victory: Andrea Huerfano, an undocumented student leader from Florida who aged-out on a family petition, has technically earned a 6 month “stay of removal.”

Initiated by student activists from Florida, the Change.org petition targeted DHS officials and local Florida ICE to release Andrea, who was detained while paying a traffic ticket. So much for trying to follow the law, this action just tells unauthorized immigrants to not use the legal system.

718 signatures were quickly gathered over the course of the weekend, and Andrea was finally released earlier today. This pattern of using new media to initiate change is part of a larger trend where immigrant youth have emerged as leaders and strategists for their cause.

Earlier, immigrant youth have used the great petition tools provided by Change.org to stop the deportation of Walter Lara from Florida, Taha hailing from New Jersery and Herta Llusho of Michigan quite successfully, painting a larger ‘Education Not Deportation’ narrative for the movement.

It is not just new media. Immigrant youth were also instrumental in the campaign to stop the deportation of Rigoberto Padilla, which gained the support of several local and state officials, before Padilla finally won deferred action from Department of Homeland Security.

After months of cajoling, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL-3) has co-sponsored the DREAM Act and is getting ready to propose a much more expedited legalization option for undocumented young Americans in a couple days as part of CIR ASAP.

Often, cynics have remarked that “stopping one deportation at a time is not a viable use of time or strategy.” There is a general sense of agreement from advocates who do run these campaigns. But these advocates are not sure what the cynics are doing on their end to help migrants getting detained and deported on a daily basis.

For a movement hungry for victories in the age of crimmigration and enforcement-only solutions, it is small victories like these that keep the undocumented youth movement and momentum for immigration reform alive.

(Photo Credit: docpop’s photostream)

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