Local DREAM Act Proponent Among 21 Arrested in Hart Office Building

Updated based on Press Release from Meghan McNamara of Reform Immigration for America

Harrisonburg, VA – Twenty-one students were arrested yesterday in acts of civil disobedience to urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act: legislation that allows citizenship status to youth whose parents brought them into the United States as children by their parents. One of those students was from Harrisonburg.  They  return tonight, and will hold a press conference, where and students, parents, professors and teachers will speak about the act of civil disobedience and why they believe so strongly that Congress should pass the DREAM Act this summer, and call on Senators Webb and Warner to cosponsor the bill.

Isabel Castillo, 25 of Harrisonburg, Virginia, was arrested at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 20, 2010 in Washington, D. C. with other college graduates.  Isabel and 4 others, who would be beneficiaries of the DREAM Act, were arrested by Capitol Police in Senator Harry Reid’s office. Other students were located in the offices of Senators Schumer, McCain, and other key Senators.  Castillo said of their action, “This is an act of peaceful civil disobedience.  We can wait no longer for the DREAM Act to pass.  We write letters, we hold marches, we visit our congressmen and what we hear is that we must continue to wait.”
The DREAM Act provides common sense solutions to fixing our broken immigration system. Placing higher education and citizenship out of reach for hard-working immigrant students does not force them to leave our country—the only country they call home.  Instead, it forces them to remain in the underground workforce while America is deprived of the increased economic productivity and the tax revenues provided by a better-educated workforce.
Sandy Mercer a high school teacher who attended the conference on Tuesday, has been on the front lines of the fight for the DREAM Act in Harrisonburg:
As a high school teacher, I’ve gotten to know students who are undocumented and I’ve learned the struggles they deal with. Many are scared of deportation to countries they did not grow up in and do not know. Teachers work hard to motivate all students to dream about their future and to plan to go to college or technical schools so they can get good jobs. However, it is hard when undocumented students realize there is very little hope for them to use their intelligence or skills as adults to give back to their community. That is why I am working so hard for the passage of the DREAM Act, so that these students have a chance and a future.
Maria, a student who is undocumented and was facing deportation last year, is working with an immigration attorney to seek  an extension of her deferred action status so she can remain with her family in Harrisonburg until Congress passes the DREAM Act. Maria agrees with Sandy:
We went to D. C. to ask Congress to pass the DREAM Act now. It would help so many students who want to study and work. Last year at this time I was afraid. I did not want to leave my family to go to a country I had not lived in since I was a child. I  will be seeking permission to stay until the DREAM Act is passed. I want to stay in Harrisonburg, help my family, and give back to this community.
The Dream Network has consistently fought for passage of this bill, and sponsored the three days of action on Capitol Hill in order to generate attention around the bill before the August Congressional Recess, and pass the legislation in the year 2010. Fifteen youth and teachers from Harrisonburg drove up to Washington, DC for the action, and some of them participated in civil disobedience in order to demonstrate their desperation to pass legislation. Supporters will hold a press conference to discuss their struggle, and publicly ask Senators Warner and Webb to cosponsor the bill.
###

Harrisonburg, VA – Twenty-one students were arrested yesterday in acts of civil disobedience to urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act: legislation that allows citizenship status to youth whose parents brought them into the United States as children by their parents. One of those students was from Harrisonburg.  They  return tonight, and will hold a press conference, where and students, parents, professors and teachers will speak about the act of civil disobedience and why they believe so strongly that Congress should pass the DREAM Act this summer, and call on Senators Webb and Warner to cosponsor the bill.

Sandy Mercer a high school teacher who attended the conference on Tuesday, has been on the front lines of the fight for the DREAM Act in Harrisonburg:

“We went to D. C. to ask Congress to pass the DREAM Act now. It would help so many students who want to study and work. Last year at this time I was afraid. I did not want to leave my family to go to a country I had not lived in since I was a child. I  will be seeking permission to stay until the DREAM Act is passed. I want to stay in Harrisonburg, help my family, and give back to this community.”
###

Be Sociable, Share!

Speak Your Mind

*

Login with Facebook:

Switch to our mobile site