The line in the sand has been drawn. Eight undocumented youth have taken a stand for themselves and their communities.
They come from Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Illinois—states which have taken different political stances toward immigrants. Despite the fact that the political realities vary, a threat to immigrant youth anywhere is a threat to immigrant youth everywhere.
While Illinois might see a state version of the DREAM Act in the near future, undocumented youth there still deal with a sense of hopelessness when they seek work and try to enjoy their lives. In southern states like Georgia and North Carolina, state legislatures are moving to segregate their college system by closing their doors to undocumented youth. Here in Georgia, where undocumented youth have already been banned from its top tier universities, may soon be banned from attending college anywhere in the state.
Last year, the campaign for the DREAM Act ended in defeat. Politicians’ ‘Comprehensive Immigration Reform’ never became a call to action; instead, it became an excuse for inaction. Now the young people whose lives hang in the balance have chosen to stop thinking like a campaign and have chosen to act like a movement.
These are the names you need to know: Georgina Perez, David Ramirez, Andrea Rosales, Viridiana Hernandez, Jose Rico Benavides, Dayanna Rebolledo, Maria Marroquin, and Dulce Guerrero. These young people have chosen to fight for their dignity, for their families’ dignity—and if you are undocumented, they have done it in hopes to inspire you to fight for your dignity.
Sign the petition.
In a Democratically controlled House, Senate and White House, Democrats failed to pass the DREAM Act. Because of their cowardice, immigrant youth in Georgia, North Carolina and other southern states are facing the possibility of losing their education rights.
Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court case which allows undocumented youth to attend public schools, states in its decision that “whatever savings might be achieved by denying these children an education, they are wholly insubstantial in light of the costs involved to these children, the State, and the Nation.” The costs of not educating them were surely higher. And they are—not only in financial terms, but in the costs to undocumented youth who struggle with hopelessness, depression, shame, fear or suicide.
You have a voice and it’s time to use it. Waiting for someone to solve this problem is no longer an option. It is time to speak out in public without fear and without apologies.
What problem has ever been solved by denying students an education?
In Georgia, the presidents of the state’s most selective universities must refuse the ban on undocumented immigrants. They have to take a stand against this injustice. The state’s politicians must stop trying to push undocumented youth into the shadows. At the federal level, Congress needs to do its job and create a pathway to legalization.
Stand with these brave eight undocumented youth—more importantly, stand up for yourself. It’s time to take action.
Sign the petition.