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Small crowd gathers to support Dream Act
Voting may occur today in House of Representatives
Holding lit candles and waving small American flags, a small crowd gathered at Centennial Park on Main Street in support of Dream Act 2010.
The vigil, one of many held across the nation Tuesday, was held to bring people together to provide them with information on how to contact local representatives who have not committed to say yes to the bill, said Marla Samora, an intern with OLa Raza, a local immigrants’ rights center who sponsored the vigil.
“The Dream Act is a proposed bill that would provide a pathway to lawful permanent residency for individuals who were brought to the United States as undocumented immigrant youth,” Samora said. “Now that Senator Reid has filed cloture on the Dream Act, the bill has the potential to be voted on as early as Wednesday. That’s why this candlelight vigil is being carried out to show solidarity with immigrant youth across the nation who dream for a better future. They’re educated youth. They’re in the military. They are not going to be a burden to society. They’re bettering themselves. Their American dream is to be able to go to school.”
The Dream Act has certain requirements that must be met. The children of illegal immigrants must have entered the United States before turning 16 years of age, must currently be age 35 or younger, have lived in the United States for five consecutive years and graduated, or obtained a GED, from a United States high school system. They must display good moral character, have no criminal record and plan to attend college or enlist in the military for a minimum of two years. Only then, would the person be granted citizenship.
Teresa de la Rosa of Ola Raza addressed the crowd of between 30 and 50 and thanked them for attending such an important event.
“It’s very important to let the community know, to let everyone know — especially political and Congress people who have the power of deciding that we really care about the Dream Act,” Teresa de la Rosa said. “We want to show the world, especially people in the U.S.A., that it is time that our young ones who are not at fault, be able to attend school and have a pathway to lawful permanent residency.”
People in the crowd agreed.
“We might be a few here but we represent many,” said Pedro “Pete” Martinez. “It’s touching to see the candle light service. It reminds me of the Statue of Liberty — the first thing people saw when they entered the country.”
Maria Ferrer said she heard about the last-minute vigil from her daughter.
“It’s all about supporting the youth and standing up and speaking. It’s not the children’s fault and it’s not like they can return to Mexico to get an education,” Maria Ferrer said.
Roberto de la Rosa also addressed the crowd and talked about Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
“Our dream is that someday our children will not be judged by their immigration status but by their intelligence,” Roberto de la Rosa said. “But to make a dream come true, we need to have faith that our representatives in Congress will have good common sense and realize that this is a good, just law.”
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045, or email@example.com.