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Posts Tagged ‘DREAM Act’

Immigration Debate: The Problem With the Word “Illegal”

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 24, 2012

It’s inflammatory, imprecise, and most of all, inaccurate. So why does everyone — from Chuck Schumer to Mitt Romney — use it?
image: Young people wait in line to enter the office of The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeleson the first day of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Aug. 15, 2012.

What part of ‘illegal’ don’t you understand?”

Add that to the list of questions I am repeatedly asked since publicly disclosing my undocumented immigrant status in the summer of 2011. Calling undocumented people “illegal immigrants” — or worse, “illegal aliens,” asMitt Romney did in front of a largely Latino audience last week — has become such standard practice for politicians and the media, from Bill O’Reilly to the New York Times, that people of all political persuasions do not think twice about doing it, too.

(MOREFor Romney, Fundraising Comes First)

But describing an immigrant as “illegal” is legally inaccurate. Being in the country without proper documents is a civil offense, not a criminal one. (Underscoring this reality, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority opinion on SB 1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration law: “As a general rule, it is not a crime for a movable alien to remain in the United States.”) In a country that believes in due process of the law, calling an immigrant “illegal” is akin to calling a defendant awaiting trial a “criminal.”  The term “illegal” is also imprecise. For many undocumented people — there are 11 million in the U.S. and most have immediate family members who are American citizens, either by birth or naturalization — their immigration status is fluid and, depending on individual circumstances, can be adjusted. Read the rest of this entry »

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Deferred Action Immigration Event Draws Thousands Of DREAMers On First Day

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 16, 2012

By Elise Foley

CHICAGO — Nayeli Manzano, a 16-year-old undocumented immigrant, woke at midnight Wednesday after about an hour of sleep. A friend had called, saying a large crowd was gathering on Chicago’s Navy Pier.

Manzano wanted to be among the first in line for an event that would help thousands of young undocumented immigrants apply for work authorization and reprieve from deportation under a new Obama administration policy. Wednesday was the first day to apply. The event at Navy Pier, and others like it, ensured thousands would.

“This is my chance, I’m not going to let it go,” said Manzano, who wears black-rimmed glasses and sounds older than she is. “I’m the right age, I haven’t done anything wrong, I don’t have a criminal record. I am a good student. So I told my parents, [Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights] is going to have an event, and I want to be one of the first ones to be there.”

Manzano had planned to take the El train with her parents to the pier around 4:30 a.m. The line would have been hours longer by then. At 6 a.m., organizers at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights blasted out an email saying more than a thousand people were in line. By 7 a.m, there were more than 2,200 in a line snaking through hallways in the Navy Pier event center and down the pier, past a charter yacht and a Ferris wheel and south along Lake Michigan.

deferred actionNayeli Manzano, 16, waits in line to submit her application for deferred action at Navy Pier in Chicago.

By 1 p.m., organizers estimated that 13,000 people had come to Navy Pier for the event, making it the biggest deferred action gathering in the U.S. on Wednesday. The earliest applicants arrived at 6 p.m. Tuesday and slept there, some carrying sleeping bags with them on Wednesday. Others brought board games, laptop computers or knitting projects. But most passed the time by talking to those around them about plans, once they’re approved — they hope — and able to work, attend school and drive without fear of deportation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Obama Immigration Plan Leaves Young Immigrants Hopeful, Skeptical

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 17, 2012

By KATE BRUMBACK, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Young Immigrants React To Obama’s Momentous Announcement

ATLANTA — Scores of young undocumented immigrants who have called the United States home for most of their lives are excited by the Obama administration’s decision allowing them to stay here legally, but they have a lot of questions. Most important: Is it too good to be true?

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US Senate Blocks Bill To Assist Immigrant Youth

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 19, 2010

By Michael Bowman

The U.S. Senate has blocked a bill that would provide legal residency for the children of illegal immigrants who pursue higher education or perform military service. Saturday’s vote effectively kills the legislation for the remainder of this year, and perhaps for years to come.

It was considered an initial step towards comprehensive immigration reform that would resolve the status of more than 12 million illegal aliens in the United States, some two million of whom arrived as minors.

The Dream Act aimed to benefit foreign-born children brought to the United States by undocumented parents. It would have extended temporary U.S. residency to aliens who were under the age of 16 when they entered the country, have lived in the United States for at least five years, and, having completed high school, enroll in an American college or serve in the U.S. armed forces.

Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois said those who would have benefited under the Dream Act are Americans in everything but legal paperwork. Read the rest of this entry »

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