Waiting for Change

It takes over a decade to pass a good bill. Last week, Senator Durbin promised to fight for the DREAM Act till he ‘draws his last breath’ at an immigration forum at DePaul University while also telling immigrant youth to wait in the same breath. It’s the same promise deferred year after year. The DREAM Act was introduced back in 2001 when I still had legal status in this country and almost every year after that. In 2007, undocumented youth were told to wait till 2009. Now, they are being told to wait till 2010. When the election year swings around faster than anyone expected, thousands of dreams may just be deferred till 2011.

The White House promised to look into the possibility of deferring deportation for undocumented youth this past August but DHS still refuses to defer the deportation of DREAM Act students like Jorge Alonso Chehade, and Herta Llusho. USCIS has the power to exercise discretion in immigration cases but it is more concerned about deporting people than doing justice. Next week, Gilbert Mejia might be left in limbo in the United States while his family is deported back to Guatemala along with his U.S. citizen siblings.

The person who is waiting for something to turn up might start with their shirt sleeves.
– Garth Henrichs

‘Waiting it out’ is not an option. Expecting politicians to do the right thing on immigration without nudging them is never an option. President Obama could chose to defer the deportation of thousands today with just an executive order, place a moratorium on raids and suspend misguided programs that give local cops power to act like immigration officials. But he refuses to budge and pays lip service to the large immigrant community in the United States.

In the face of Executive and Congressional inaction, we have to take action. Today, supporters of the Mejia family are holding a vigil outside Dianna Feinstein’s San Francisco office in hopes that she would introduce a private bill to keep the family in the United States. Perhaps no one represents the spirit and character of a fighter better than Jorge Alonso who recently established a site dedicated to his dream of staying in the United States in order to keep his campaign alive. He is not waiting for deportation. Neither should the thousands upon thousands who currently live in the shadows of society.

Video Credit: ProgressIllinois

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