American DREAMers Gaining Ground

2009 was a critical year for undocumented youth organizing.

From the IDEAS for Change in America competition to organizing DREAM graduations in over 16 states this past June to 108 events in 26 states in September to fighting deportations and gaining recognition in mainstream media, immigrant youth showed that they are the leaders in the movement for immigration reform and here to stay.

No longer in the shadows, undocumented immigrant youth are holding live talk shows, appearing on ethnic and mainstream media outlets, gaining the support of local, state and national politicians, and literally running their own campaigns.

Nativists ought to be quite afraid.

Refer to Matias, an undocumented graduate of UCLA who has been on CNN and covered by the Associated Press, recently laying the smackdown on anti-immigrant FAIR.

Of late, Jorge Alonso-Chehade has ran one of the most impressive campaigns complete with a live talk show to stop his own deportation. And now he has the support of Senator Maria Cantwell from Washington who met with Janet Napolitano just yesterday to stay his deportation order, along with that of Ernesto Gamboa.

And look at the support DREAM Act student Rigo Padilla has garnered from the City of Chicago and several Illinois Congresspersons to stop his impending deportation. Tomorrow, a rally in downtown Chicago will take place at 10am at the 1st United Methodist Church (77 W. Washington St.) on his behalf. More information is available here. There is little doubt that his deportation would be deferred.

This week Latino USA–the only national English-language radio program produced from the Latino perspective–brings us the story of an American Dreamer, Sam, in conjunction with Dan Collison from LongHaulPro. The radio program follows Sam, an 18-year-old honors student and gifted tenor sax jazz musician brought by his parents to the U.S. from Mexico at the age of five.

Sam dreams of college – but as an undocumented American, he’s denied the ability to drive, to work, to receive federal financial aid, and to attend many colleges that require “papers.” You will be hearing a lot more about Sam and his struggles in his own words, as well as the stories of many other immigrant youth fighting for change.

(Photo Credit: ☻mrhappy☻’s photostream)

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