Still-Detained Members of #Dream30 Go on Hunger Strike

While most of their group has been released, the remaining members of the #Dream30 currently being detained at an El Paso center have gone on a hunger strike, according to DreamActivist:

Join a day-long hunger strike to support the Dream 30. As of Monday, October 28th, all of the detained #Dream30 are on a hunger strike; they are calling on Senator [Bob] Menendez to take a stand and support their release.

Last Thursday, two mothers of the #Dream30 were arrested in Menendez’s office, after asking the senator for help in the release of those who are still being detained.

Mothers

As reported by Al Jazeera America’s “The Stream,” the two mothers were released Thursday evening, but then returned to Menendez’s office on Friday. Both “Rocio Perez and Maria Zuñiga told The Stream that they returned to ask Menendez to intervene in the immigration asylum cases of Rocío Hernandez and Jonathan Zuñiga, two members of the ‘Dream 30’ who are currently being detained in El Paso.” Their actions prompted a statement by a Menendez staffer, who wrote the following to AJAM’s “The Stream:”

Juan Pachon, spokesperson for the office of Senator Bob Melendez, email statement to Al Jazeera America’s The Stream, October 25, 2013:
“As a leader and author of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill,Senator Menendez is constantly reminded of the injustices stemming from our nation’s broken immigration system. Family unity is a key component of immigration policy, and that is why he has worked for many years with DreamActivists and other groups to ensure that the Administration is aware of individual cases where justice may not have been served. It was his deep concern about family unity that persuaded him to inquire about these cases with the Administration, both in writing and multiple follow-up conversations between his office and the Administration. No one has done more to help these kids and their families than Sen. Menendez, which is why it’s so unfortunate that some advocates have chosen this route.

The fact remains that until comprehensive immigration reform is enacted, the legal options available to Dreamers who have left the U.S. under current law are practically nonexistent. And unfortunately, congressional offices are not able to single-handedly interfere with and influence deportation cases. Senate Ethics prohibits “demands” to the agencies about individual cases. The Senator is saddened to see that some activists misinform the community by stating thatCongressional offices have powers that they do not in fact possess.Congressional offices typically inquire about constituent cases to determine their status and therefore, he has suggested to the Dream 30 that they ask their home state Representatives and Senators to ask about their cases. The real issue of fixing our broken immigration system once and for all remains, andSpeaker Boehner must rise to the challenge and do the right thing by allowing a vote on immigration proposals to provide permanent relief to 11 million who have waited for too long and Dreamers who should be with their families in theUnited States.”

Pachon also told The Stream that “Menendez’s office provided the mothers with an official appointment to meet with its chief counsel to get further guidance and advice on their pending cases.”

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