Wednesday, December 8, 2010

DREAM for Some But not for All

This is one of 1.4 million youth who need more options than currently offered by the DREAM Act.  We can make excuses or we can make calls demanding more options for our undocumented youth:

Tell Your Senator to have the courage to improve the DREAM Act | American Friends Service Committee

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We Want DREAMs Not M16s!!!

Students rally for Dreams Not M16s! from k9sound on Vimeo.

For the first time in the history of a 9 year movement, on December 3rd 2010 a DREAM Act Rally had High School youth Leading chants that challenged the militarization of the DREAM Act.  Oakland youth understand probably better than most people in this country the terrible state of public education and the rising cost of higher education.  This is why they understand better than most the need for more options than college or military in something going by the name of DREAM Act.

 Please share this video and these emerging fierce voices demanding more than Democrats seem willing to fight for.  At a time of political cowardice on anything related to migrant justice this kind of courage from the youngest and most vulnerable migrant youth is inspiring.

If these young people don't get to DREAM don't let it be because you did not fight for their future:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Death of the DREAM - and how to breathe life back into it!

Last night Sen. Reid filed a new version of the DREAM Act under Rule XIV procedures (S.3992 Development Relief Education for Alien Minors).  It has at least 16 major changes from previous versions of the Act 15 of them toxic.

The original DREAM much like the Bay-Area Graffitti artist by the same name is dead. These changes were made as a last ditch effort to win Republican support to pass a bill in the Lame Duck. It is important to remember that Democrats never fought for this as a stand alone bill when they counted on super majorities and had much more political capital in DC.

For some this bill is still worth fighting for, for others it is too little to late with too many military strings and not enough viable alternatives to gaining legal status.  Regardless of where you stand, one thing is clear, this is not the same Bill that inspired a 10 year movement on college campuses.  It is not the same bill that immigrants rights orgs and activists held their nose and supported when CIR lost it's last chance.  It is the new and degraded Republican DREAM Act and here are the major changes:

1. Creates conditional nonimmigrant status for 10 years, followed by 3 years of LPR status (Lawful Permanent Resident Aka Green Card Holder) prior to application for naturalization. (Original bill 2001 was 3 years, in 2003 it became 6 years of waiting and now a full Decade)

2. Eliminates repeal of in-state tuition ban. (In-state tuition can be ten times cheaper than out of state, this is probably the biggest barrier to college access for undocumented youth and the DREAM Act no longer addresses it)

3. Broadens the definition of institution of higher learning to include vocational institutions (One of the few positive changes unfortunately only impacting a very small slice of potential DREAMers)

4. Must show good moral character since time of entry into the country (rather than date of enactment as in previous versions, this will make less undocumented youth eligible)

5. Creates more grounds of inadmissibility, deportability, and other grounds for exclusion. (This again limits number of eligible undocumented youth)

  • 1. Ineligible for engaging in voter fraud, unlawfully voting, marriage fraud, public health risk, likely to become a public charge, student visa abuse, polygamy, draft evasion, persecution of others.
  • 2. Ineligible for one felony or three misdemeanor convictions

6. Lower age cap from 34 to 29.

7. Requires submission of: biometric and biographic data, a background check, a medical examination (big brother facilitating possible deportations in the future)

8. Expands required disclosures and creates exceptions to confidentiality requirement for criminal, homeland security, or national security purposes. (Big Brother again prepping for future deportations)

9. Application deadline for conditional nonimmigrant status– alien must apply for conditional status within one year after obtaining high school degree or GED, admittance to institution of higher education, or date of enactment.  (Will create more ways to be denied)

10. Requires selective service registration. (continues the militarization of the DREAM Act and migrant youth)

11. Requires alien to demonstrate prima facie eligibility to receive stay of removal while application pending. (More hoops to jump through)

12. Burden of proof – requires alien to demonstrate eligibility by a preponderance of the evidence. (And More Hoops)

13. Adjustment to LPR status (more ways to delay and deny naturalization and the franchise)

  • 1. Must show good moral character during the 10 years in conditional status (longer period in which to catch 3 misdemenours = more low-income migrant youth excluded)
  • 2. Cannot have been absent from the US for a total of more than 365 days during the conditional status 
  • 3. Application deadline – must file for adjustment of status during the period beginning 1 year before and ending on either the date that is 10 years after the date of the granting of conditional nonimmigrant status or any other expiration date of the conditional status. 

14. Requires alien to pay back taxes before conditional status removed. (Creates cost barriers for some)

15. No Expedited Processing of Applications section, as included in earlier version. (Delays process more room for reasons to deny)

16. Eligibility for Health Care:

  • While in conditional nonimmigrant status, ineligible for subsidies under the Exchange. (migrant youth can't get health care another reminder of second class status in this society)

If the DREAM Act were Graffiti you could say Washington just "went over our piece" 15 times.  No higher form of disrespect exists. The DREAM for many is DEAD.  But much like the Graff Artist Mike "DREAM" Francisco who is more alive in the BAY-Area and beyond today than when he walked these streets and tagged these walls, we too can breathe life back into the real DREAM Act by honoring it, by screaming it's true name to those in power who don't want to hear it anymore than they want to see urban art.

One positive change to drastically transform and breathe life back into this dying legislation is to bring back the community service path to papers. This would create an accessible path to legal status for the overwhelming majority of undocumented youth.

If we are giving away 15 bargaining chips I think we should be demanding at least one from the other side?

Now is not the time to light candles and morn. It is the time to tag the walls of congress with our truths.
Grabb your cell phone and your spray can and hit up congress:


Mike "DREAM" Francisco Rest In Power!