Tuesday, May 18, 2010

DREAM Act-ivists protest at McCain office

In an act of civil disobedience five protestors including four undocumented migrants held a sit-in the Tucson, Arizona offices of Sen. John McCain.

The protest was held in order to bring much-needed attention to the DREAM Act- a proposal to grant conditional citizenship of young illegal immigrants who either pursue a college degree or sign up for two years of military service. "Every day we live with this fear of what's going to happen the next day," said Tania Unzueta, one of the protestors who dressed in a cap and gown while sitting in McCain’s office. Unzueta added that she and her fellow activists were treated very nicely and expressed her hope that Monday’s event could convince McCain to support the bipartisan-created DREAM Act.

The protestors were joined by about 20 to 30 others who held a vigil outside of the office building. Yet late at night the protestors were arrested and three of them risk being deported due to their undocumented legal status.

A spokeswoman for the incumbent senator said that the “individuals have a right to peacefully protest in the senator’s office” but added that they ought to “focus their efforts on the president and the Democrats that control the agenda in Congress.” Though the protesters targeted McCain’s office their overall aim is to convince politicos of both parties to support the DREAM Act:
The students protesting in Mr. McCain’s office said they wanted to increase pressure on Congress to pass the Dream Act this year, even if lawmakers do not take up a broader overhaul of the immigration system. The student bill is currently part of a Democratic proposal for an overhaul, largely written by Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York.
McCain has taken a tougher stance on immigration as part of his contentious primary challenge from J.D Hayworth. He has backed Arizona’s recently signed immigration law and last month unveiled a plan that includes deploying 3000 National Guard soldiers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The DREAM Act has also received additional attention in Georgia where a Mexican-born university student was under threat of deportation after being arrested for a minor traffic violation.

Image- Michigan Messenger
Online Sources- KOLD, KGU, Phoenix New Times, New York Times, The Latin Americanist, USA TODAY

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