A blog by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration about justice and peace issues

Posts tagged ‘DREAM Act’

A small win

On Thursday, August 18th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it will begin a thorough review of the 300,000 pending deportation caseload to refocus enforcement efforts away from “low priority” immigrants and toward “high priority individuals,” such as those who have committed crimes.  DHS will now consider DREAM Act-eligible youths, relatives of veterans, and other individuals who are currently in the deportation process and who have no prior criminal convictions, non-threatening; they will move to dismiss their cases and, on a “case per case basis,” issue work permits.
This is a step in the right direction and could be crucial for so many facing deportation, yet we still need more comprehensive and compassionate immigration policies that move away from the current enforcement-only strategy and towards more humane and compassionate policies. Last week, August 17th, hundreds of student, community and faith leaders came out to call on DHS and the Obama Administration to stop the Secure Communities Program. Six undocumented students were arrested after participated in an act of civil disobedience, putting their lives on the line to stop the broken Secure Communities Program.  Read more from the Immigrant Youth Justice League
Please take a moment to thank the President Obama for this important administrative action.
“I’m calling to thank President Obama for taking a step in the right direction through more responsible enforcement strategies. We still need more permanent immigration policy solutions that keep families together and to stop the implementation of programs like Secure Communities that are harmful for our communities.” 

Join the Dreamers

Watch the video and join with Presente! and advocate for immigrant youth in detention.

Earlier this week President Obama gave a major speech in El Paso, Texas, where he renewed his commitment to immigration reform.

That’s great news, and we’re ready to continue fighting to make immigration reform and the DREAM Act a reality. But the truth is that there are thousands of young people facing the threat of deportation right now–including University of Texas student Raul Zamora, who hopes to be an architect but first must survive his May 26 deportation hearing.

The President has the power to make sure thousands of young men and women like Raul don’t have to worry about deportation. He can issue an Executive Order that would stop the deportation of DREAMers until we get this critical legislation passed. And if he’s serious about immigration reform, that’s exactly what he should do.

In this critical time following his speech, the media will look to see how the public reacts. If we can show that thousands of us are demanding action right now, we can make a real impact on the public debate around the DREAM Act and help save thousands of amazing students from being forced from the only country they know as home. Can you click below to automatically sign this petition asking President Obama to use his executive authority to stop the deportations of DREAMers? Click here:


Sadly, Raul’s story is not unique. In Texas alone, there is Benita Veliz who came to the United States from Mexico when she was eight years old, graduated as the valedictorian of her high school, and is now in removal proceedings. Mario Perez came to this country when he was five and now studies math and statistics as he fights his deportation order.

DREAMers like these across the country have asked the President to use his executive authority to stop their deportations. Unfortunately, despite the advice of legal scholars1 and calls from members of his own party2, the President has refused to halt the deportations of young people like Raul, Benita and Mario.

The longer he waits to take action, the more young people will be deported. They need our help and we need to pressure the Obama administration to grant executive relief for them.

Please join us and ask your friends and family to do the same.



1. “Legal Experts Weigh in on Executive Branch Authority,” Immigration Policy Center, 4-29-11

2. “Twenty-Two Senators Ask Obama to Stop Deporting DREAMers,” Colorlines.com, 4-11-11

The Imperius Curse strikes our government

Anyone who is a fan of Harry Potter has heard of the Imperius Curse. It is a curse that when cast on a person will put that person completely under the control of  whoever gave the curse. This person now under the Imperius will do whatever the person controlling him or her wishes (while the person under the curse believes he or she is still in control).

I can only guess that a massive Imperius Curse has taken over the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government in the past year. There are really too many examples to list but the latest of the extension of tax cuts to the very wealthy plus the denial of the DREAM Act seem to point to  forces at play that can have nothing to do with plain common sense or the slightest moral sensibility.

Instead we are faced with arguments that distort facts and place a new “cultural” purity on the table. What makes America “America” and Americans “Americans” is a very narrow list of credentials that is defined by a few, a very few from a very conservative slant. In this America the wealthy are victims, migrants are terrorists, corporations are people with first amendment rights, the Gulf is clean  and war is a state of being necessary for true patriotism.

Clearly a case of the Imperius Curse.

In the Harry Potter stories a person can resist the curse. The curse and its impact of  erasing  personhood and replacing it with a mindless following of commands can be prevented. To resist the curse, one must show great moral fortitude and courage. The person resisting the curse must believe so strongly in what they know to be right that the pressure to give up critical thought and moral inquiry can be overcome.

Gandhi, while not a reader of Harry Potter, had a similar concept  only he called it soul-force.  Soul-force is the force within us that gives us the strength and courage to stand up, no matter the consequences, for what we believe in and to struggle for those beliefs. This is not a private struggle for Gandhi or indeed Potter. It is a public one taking on the cultural sphere that roots the lies that are the mark of the Imperius Curse. We must not only believe but act and act publicly to create a wider space for more and more people to engage soul-force and resist the Imperious Curse.

In our final week of Advent it seems most appropriate to spend some time with soul-force. To look into the heart of the longest night of the year, December 21, and imagine what should welcome the dawn. Undocumented youth allowed to flourish? Millions of new, well paid jobs for the unemployed? The end of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan?

What would greet your dawn? What calls on your soul-force?

DREAM Act – Act Now!

A chance to impact the lives of the 65,000 children who graduate each year undocumented. Check out the action from Justice for Immigrants and the YouTube from UCLA.

One Last Push: URGENT action needed for the DREAM Act

PLEASE contact your Representatives and Senators as soon as possible to ask for their support for the DREAM Act.  Both the House and Senate could vote tomorrow.  You can either send a letter through the Justice for Immigrants website (www.justiceforimmigrants.org) or call their local or federal offices.

U.S. Senate:  202-224-3121

U.S. House:  202-225-3121

“Give me your tired, your poor….” the DREAM act

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”  Quote at base of Statue of Liberty

Dear All – I would like to share an action from NETWORK this week in regard to the DREAM Act. You will be able to read more below, but essentially the DREAM Act will remove the many obstacles that immigrant youth may face once they leave high school and try to pursue further education or training.

The bill helps to ensure that we as a country do not further the current trend of criminalizing immigrants, especially the children of immigrants who may have had no choice in how they entered the country.

Read the great information below and take a quick action to support the immigrant youth in our communities. Much Peace Liz

 An American DREAM for immigrant children
On March 26, 2009, Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN)  and Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) reintroduced the DREAM Act (S. 729, H.R. 1751).
The DREAM Act (“Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors” Act in the Senate, and “The American Dream” Act in the House) would allow undocumented children who entered the United States when 16 years or younger and who have lived in the United States for five years to apply for conditional permanent residency if they maintain good moral character and earn a high school diploma.  After 6 years of conditional permanent residency, they could apply for lawful permanent residency (LPR).  By allowing students to apply for conditional permanent residency, it would also be giving them a path to apply for higher education, lawful employment, or service to the United States.
Please urge your representative and senators to co-sponsor the DREAM Act so that high school graduates brought to the United States as children can realize their potential through higher education and service to the United States, thus benefiting all Americans. (Or thank them if they are already a co-sponsor.)
You can e-mail your representative at http://capwiz.com/networklobby/issues/alert/?alertid=13182316&type=CO
And your senators at http://capwiz.com/networklobby/issues/alert/?alertid=13182421&type=CO
An appropriate sample message will come up when you enter your zip code, either thanking your member of Congress or urging them to become co-sponsors. This is one of the advantages of using the system on our website to e-mail your members of Congress – we can customize the message based on their co-sponsorship status.

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