Tuesday, December 7, 2010

From TX to DC- 29th day of Hunger Strike

Lucy Martinez, pictured above, speaks to Senator Hutchison's immigration staffer about the critical need for the DREAM Act. Lucy is on her 29th day of a hunger strike and the question remains if Senator Hutchison will put politics aside and stand with hard working immigrant youth. The time is now and hard working immigrant youth like the Texas Hunger Strikers and those across the nation cannot wait any longer. Our lives are on the line here. Please call Senator Hutchison and ask her to support the new DREAM Act bill that has been rewritten with HER desired changes. It is time to put politics aside and stand up for what is right. 

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Julieta gives her Undergraduate and Masters diplomas in Nursing to Senator Hutchison as a reminder of why we need the DREAM Act to pass. Without the DREAM Act her diplomas are nothing but eight years of hard work on paper. 

Also in attendance at this meeting is Brent Wilkes, the LULAC National Executive Director, who has been inspired by the TX Hunger Strikers and has joined them on the strike. Mr. Wilkes is standing up for all the DREAMers and reminds Senator Hutchison of the award she accepted from LULAC in 2009 specifically for her support of the DREAM Act. 

National LULAC Executive Director tells Senator Hutchison not to forget her dedication and responsibility to the DREAM Act youth she once stood with. 

Just in case, here are those changes that mirror what Senator Hutchison was asking for and that she got:   

  •  10 years of temporary status vs. the previous 6 years
  •   Specifically barring DREAMers from access to health care subsidies etc.
  •   Age cap is 30 vs. the previous of 35
  •   Removal of the language that would have not punished states for providing in-state tuition 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Response: Michelle Malkin Talks Down to TX Hunger Strikers

TX immigrant youth preparing to deliver check to Senator Hutchison

During a talk given at the University of Texas at Austin , Michelle Malkin put into question the contributions DREAM Act beneficiaries could make to this country. In her own words, she said:

You know, based on their debate skills, I am not sure how much they even have to contribute to this country. And you can quote me on that.”

Well, more than quote we will challenge her accuracy and put our money where our mouth is-something Michelle Malkin would be wise to do as well.

The conservative blogger’s comments come in a timely manner to discuss the economic imperative of the DREAM Act. In fact, on Thursday, just two days after Malkin's bullying comments, the Congressional Budget office released their estimate that the DREAM Act would increase revenues by $2.3 billion in the 2011-2020 period and even after accounting for spending, enacting the DREAM Act would reduce deficits by about $1.4 billion over the 2011-2020 period.   

She told Him Ranjit, an undocumented biomedical engineering student on campus, to get to the back of the line stating that he could wait and that she “would rather expend limited resources deporting”. Well, no, Him cannot wait. He was on his 9th day of a hunger strike when Malkin suggested that his situation was not urgent. He asked for real and pragmatic solutions other than the DREAM Act and Michelle Malkin offered none.  I do believe others like the families of DREAM Act eligible youth who have committed suicide and the Reverend Lorenza Andrade Smith who is currently detained and on her 10th day of a hunger strike for the DREAM Act would also disagree with Malkin’s analysis of non-urgency. This denial of urgency is the biggest damage that people like Michelle Malkin and those who choose to align themselves with her do to our youth. I would suggest these people check their moral compass.

Furthermore, resources may be limited for enforcing the border but Congress sure does try to alleviate this by passing $600 million border enforcement bill. Additionally, the Obama administration goes on a deportation rampage and deports a record number of people. So, how Michelle Malkin can think it is okay to tell undocumented youth to wait is beyond me.  

Even with all the misinformation that Malkin has been known to spread through paranoid and inflated language, perhaps the most ridiculous misinformation is that undocumented youth are not being chased down and deported. She responded to Him Ranjit in the following way:

“You get your education; I am not bothering you; and guess what? There is no ICE agent chasing you down right now.”

Again, home grown talent and DREAM Act eligible youth like Saad Nabeel would disagree. Saad was deported to Bangladesh in 2009 during his freshman year at the University of Texas in Arlington after having lived in the US for 15 years. He now has to deal with the consequences of our broken immigration system and returning to a country he barely knows. In his own words, here is his story

The point is that Michelle Malkin offers no solutions. Rather, she thrives on bullying tactics that only polarize the debate and take us nowhere. Whichever group drank the Michelle Malkin tea and decided to bring her to campus is certainly not even worth mentioning. Next, please.

The fact is that our lives are on the line here. It is now the 27th day of the Texas hunger strike and suicide notes keep coming in. We cannot wait any longer. Senator Hutchison must take clear steps to move forward with the DREAM Act in the lame duck session. Her concerns have already been address and expectations have been met with the new DREAM Act bill. As immigrant youth and allies have shown, not only in Texas but also across the country, we are willing to risk arrest and deportation to stand up for what is right. We expect the Senator to have the same courage.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Senator Hutchison, The Eyes of TX Are Upon You

On Monday Dream Act youth and allies staged a peaceful sit it at Senator Hutchison’s San Antonio office asking the decade old question of “What will it take?” On the Senator’s watch, sixteen of these courageous youth and community members were arrested. This included Pastor Lorenza Andrade Smith who has decided to stay in jail until the DREAM Act gets a vote in the Senate.

Pastor Smith is a leader of C.O.P.S/ Metro Alliance. She is a clergywoman for the Rio Grande Conference for the United Methodist Church and has been fasting since Thanksgiving. The alliance meets with the mayor, councilmen and Senators to discuss community issues and they have discussed immigration concerns such as the DREAM Act.

Two days later, the Houston community followed the escalation at the Mickey Leland Federal Building as a new version of the DREAM Act came out. Even though the changes in the new version are exactly what Senator Hutchison indicated she wanted, the Senator locked the doors on Houston’s DREAM Act youth and supporters.

 It seems business as usual at Suite 800 was not so usual in the middle of the workweek.

Today, the action continues in Austin where a rally is scheduled outside Senator Hutchison’s office. In all this, we expect to get a more positive answer from the Senator as we are sure she knows the stakes. We certainly are not able to continue doing the supposed “right” actions like countless of lobby visits and at the end of the day being locked out.

Senator Hutchison, we want you to stand with us and as you know, the eyes of Texas are upon you. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

San Antonio-DREAMs Arrested: 

The last person doing sit-in at Senator Hutchison's office has been arrested, including Reverend Lorenza Andrade Smith who is a leader of C.O.P.S Metro alliance. She's a clergy for the Rio Grande Conference for United Methodist Church, which serves the Hispanic community. She is has been fasting since Thanksgiving and is in complete solidarity as a clergy.

Cops usher in uncertainty for DREAM Act youth on Hutchison's Watch

TX Hunger Strike participants and DREAM Act leaders who are staging sit-in are circled, linking arms as Senator Hutchison arrests them for believing in their DREAMs. Again, what will it take Senator? We hope to see you in D.C. with a positive vote for the DREAM Act.