Immigrant rights advocates bring protest, Aztec dance, prayer to free detainee in El Paso

El Paso – Alexi Cruz may not have realized he had friends in this border community until he was on the verge of being deported. Cruz, 24, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who has lived in the U.S. since he was 14 years old, was detained in early November by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after his car broke down on the way to Arizona. He was on his way from his home in San Antonio to see his mother in Arizona because authorities had apprehended his sister. His wife, Anayanse Garza, said that Cruz sought help after his car broke down in New Mexico near the Arizona border and was questioned by law enforcement officers about his residential status. The Border Patrol was called to pick him up.

José Antonio Vargas, el indocumentado más privilegiado

CHICAGO — José Antonio Vargas ha pasado la mayor parte de su vida escondido detrás de un secreto: Vivir indocumentado en los Estados Unidos. Cerca de 12 millones de personas en los EEUU comparten tal secreto bajo el miedo de la deportación. Pero Vargas, quien salió del clóset de los papeles falsos cuando publicó “Mi vida como un inmigrante indocumentado” en la revista del periódico New York Times del 22 de junio del 2011, continúa en este país sin haber seguido la suerte de los más de dos millones que han sido deportados, sólo durante el gobierno de Obama, por no tener documentos legales. Posteriormente, en junio del 2012, Vargas apareció en la portada de la revista Time, junto con otros 30 indocumentados bajo el titular: “Somos americanos, sólo no legalmente”. “Documentado” es la película que Vargas ha escrito, producido y dirigido que cubre la experiencia de su vida sin documentos desde que llegara a California de su natal Filipinas el 3 de agosto de 1993, cuando tenía 12 años.

Diego Luna, a Mexican actor and director of the new film, “Cesar Chavez,” speaks about his support for DREAMers and says how they are part of American history. (Alejandro Alba/SHFWire)

New program to give more than 2,000 college scholarships to DREAMers

WASHINGTON – A new program will allow thousands of young immigrants to go to college without having to worry about money. Donald Graham introduced TheDream.US, a new scholarship fund, at a press conference Tuesday. It will give full-ride scholarships to more than 2,000 DREAMers over the next decade. “It will be terrible for them and for our country if we don’t help them,” Graham said. “There is no telling what many of them will achieve in their lives.”

Young people described as DREAMers are those brought to the United States when they were  children.

Ethnic, political leaders denounce King

WASHINGTON — Reaction by leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties, as well as Hispanic and civil rights organizations, has been swift, strident and steady this week in answer to anti-Hispanic comments made by U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa. Responding to DREAMer supporters’ contentions that the contributions and potential of tens of thousands of undocumented Latino youths are undervalued, the six term Republican Congressman told the conservative Website Newsmax July 18 that for every “illegal immigrant” who becomes a valedictorian, “there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and have calves s the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

Fellow Republican Raúl Labrador of Idaho quickly characterized King’s comments as “irresponsible and reprehensible,” adding, “I hope that if he thought about it, he wouldn’t say such a thing again.”

But he already has. Since then, King has elaborated in a July 23 Radio Iowa interview with O. Kay Henderson , “It’s not something that I’m making up. This is real. We have people that are drug mules…You can tell by their physical characteristics what they’re doing for months, going through the desert with 75 pounds of drugs on their back.”

“What he said is wrong.

Simon Jun, an undocumented student and DREAM rider, speaks publicly for the first time about his situation. He says that Congress needs to pass immigration reform for the families living in the shadows. (Rob Denton/SHFWire)

DREAMers go on summer road trip for immigration reform

WASHINGTON – Steps away from the Capitol, DREAM rider Simon Jun spoke publically for the first time Wednesday about being an undocumented student in the U.S.

“Growing up, I understood what it meant to be undocumented,” he said. “Don’t break any laws, no matter how trivial they may seem. Never tell or hint to another individual that you are undocumented.”

Standing next to fellow DREAM riders, Asian-American advocacy groups and members of Congress, Jun called on lawmakers to pass comprehensive immigration reform. He said he is thankful to have received approval to stay in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which grants temporary residency to young adults brought to the country as children. But he said the larger issue needs a permanent fix.

"Stand with families" was the clamor of students members of United We Dream. (Luis Hernandez/Borderzine.com)

DREAMers march on Capitol Hill to put a human face on the struggle for immigration reform

WASHINGTON – A group of college students dressed in blue graduation gowns sit in a gallery during a U.S. Senate hearing, their eyes fixed on the Senate floor, watching attentively as a steady stream of yay votes are tallied and read out loud by the clerk. They’re not the usual student visitors on a school-sanctioned field trip to the Capitol – they’re DREAMers and the vote they are witnessing will ultimately decide the legality of their residency in this country. The Senate Bill 744: Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act more commonly known as the Immigration bill, passed its first hurdle June 11 on an 82-15 vote, with 54 Democrats and 28 Republicans voting to move the bill to the floor. With congressmen all around Washington voicing their opinions to anyone who would listen, the DREAMers sought to place a human face on immigration and let them know the repercussions of their rhetoric. The students are members of United We Dream (UWD), a nonpartisan network made up of 52 affiliate organizations in 25 states, and one of the largest immigrant youth-led organizations in the nation.

Citizenship main topic at first immigration hearing

WASHINGTON – A pathway to citizenship was the main topic of discussion Tuesday at a House hearing, the first to take place since proposals for immigration reform were introduced in the new Congress. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro pushed for citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the United States. “I believe that is the best way and it is in our nation’s best interest,” Castro said. “We’re a nation of immigrants. We’ve progressed because we are pragmatic.

Families made a good part of the participants in the march for immigration reform. (Justin Monarez/Borderzine.com)

Rival immigration reform plans could ignite Capitol Hill fireworks

By Basilisa Alonso

The comprehensive immigration reform proposal spread out Jan. 29 in Las Vegas by President Obama could eventually put as many as 11 million undocumented immigrants, about 80 percent of whom are Hispanic, on a path to U.S. citizenship. It is could also light up the sky with an awesome display of political fireworks by the Fourth of July. While Obama’s 25-minute televised speech was seen and heard by millions and then regurgitated and analyzed for days by print as well as broadcast  media, its message was clearly directed to those 535 members of Congress who must sign off before it reaches his desk for signature. The stakes — the President’s reputation, the future viability of the Republican Party and the welfare of the Hispanic community — are enormous.

Josue Aguilar/Danny Boy is a “Dreamer” and a vlog sensation

By Valori K. Corral-Nava

His college classmates would never guess that Josue Daniel Aguilar’s quirky Internet alias is Danny Boy and his comedy routine has been featured on “Hoy!,” Mexico’s national television version of the Today Show. Fame comes from his vlog page called Jaguer-U where Aguilar, a UTEP Digital Media major, has posted over 120 quirky comic Spanish language videos that have attracted an estimated 11 million views on Youtube.  He’s also had some measure of financial success as funds flow in daily from product placement ads in his videos. The self-made Internet sensation is living the American dream that any young ambitious 20-year-old would want but with a caveat. Until last November, when the U.S. government approved his application for Deferred Status from deportation, he was living in this country illegally.

(©Raymundo Aguirre)

Anchor babies and Dream Acts

Teaching and Learning and Caring Blog

EL PASO – On June 15, 2012, more than a year after President Obama’s visit to El Paso, he announced that his administration would no longer take administrative action against young people who were brought here as children and who have no criminal record.  These are the same people (an estimated 800,000) that would qualify for the Dream Act, if it ever passed.  Moreover, these kids would be allowed to apply for work permits. Finally, it is a step in the right direction.  But, and it is a rather large one, there has to be enough trust that the administrative action would not be overturned, and people would not be deported once they had come forward and self-identified. The following blog by Cheryl Howard originally appeared in Bean Juice Dispatches, an on-line publication created by former UTEP students, Raymundo Aguirre and John Del Rosario. EL PASO, May 13, 2011 – Anchors keep us centered in bad weather, keep us from drifting away with the current or the wind. Dreams are not anchors; they are the wisps of wind or the current itself.  Dreams are unfettered by reality.