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`Great news – Taha’s deportation got deferred today!
Both Senators Lautenberg and Menendez from New Jersey stepped in and wrote letters to DHS on behalf of Taha. Menendez was on mark and pointed out that students like Taha should be allowed to stay in the United States till action is taken on the DREAM Act:
Taha’s story represents compelling evidence of the need for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform including the DREAM Act, legislation I have co-sponsored that would provide young people like Taha, who have grown up in the U.S. with a mechanism to remain and fully contribute to the nation that is now their home. As President Obama has said in support of thee DREAM Act, “these students are now children of the United States.” Taha is the kind of person that the DREAM Act is intended to help. He was brought here at a young age, stayed in school, has never been in trouble with the law, and is of good moral character. Our nation benefits more by his presence than by his absence. ..I ask you to defer action on Taha’s deportation and other similar cases. These students have earned the chance to live, continue their education, and work here. I look forward to your response.
The DHS response was positive while embodying a haughty anger. An official told us: “We don’t need to be told how to do our jobs.” However, instead of ‘doing their jobs’ and deporting Taha and his family next Wednesday, they chose to listen and defer their deportation. Taha can now attend college and his mother has received a stay for six additional years till her U.S. citizen son can graduate from high school. That would be plenty of time for the DREAM Act and immigration reform to pass.
Apparently, DHS told Taha’s mom that they wanted the emails and calls to end. In our opinion, given the negative press that ICE is getting, it was smart to not let the Taha deportation case filter into the mainstream media for further negative criticism.
Citizen Orange documents how the undocumented student movement scored this victory:
Dreamactivist.org brought everyone together. Advocates like Josh Bernstein, Joaquin Guerra, and Ali Jost at the Service Employees International Union were instrumental, as was Priya Murthy the Policy Director at South Asian Americans Leading Together. On the ground the New York State Youth Leadership Council was helping out … At one point I even called up a high school friend of mine from New Jersey to help out, and he dropped everything to go and see Taha.
And we just got back from having an appreciative dinner with Taha and his family. They are all grateful for a chance to remain and contribute to the United States.
As we set our eyes on the prize, it is small victories like these that keep the undocumented youth movement going.