Today the Arizona Daily Star published a powerful editorial calling for the release of the #Dream9, the group of immigration activists who are still being held at the Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, AZ.
You can read the entire editorial here. We have provided a few excerpts of the more salient points:
Whether you agree with their tactics or not or believe they are self-entitled lawbreakers or victims of a broken immigration system, it’s undeniable that it was an action born of frustration and desperation. More than 10 years after the original Dream Act was proposed, these young men and women – Americans in word and deed – continue to be denied the opportunities many of us take for granted.
Not only has the promise of the Dream Act been repeatedly denied, they have now watched as the Senate’s immigration reform bill has hit a wall in the House, losing the momentum that almost elevated 11 million people out of the shadows. Almost. So close. Maybe next time.
No wonder they’re angry, no wonder they’re not willing to wait anymore.
As for the discussion of the Dream Act and whether passing it would be helpful, it writes:
While this would be an important step, with more than 1 million young adults eligible to benefit from this legislation, it ignores the other 10 million people who would still be left behind. The House’s piecemeal efforts will continue to warp the nation’s immigration system. Comprehensive reform is still the only credible response.
The Dream 9’s situation shines a spotlight on the dysfunctional nature of our current immigration system. It’s easy to take a hard line and say they broke the law and must pay the price. But the law here is far from right and wrong. As it is, the system is a mishmash of selective enforcement that mirrors the conflicting ethical and legal issues involved in immigration.
Later in the editorial, it concludes:
If [the Dream 9] are Dream Act-eligible, they too should be allowed back. The Senate’s immigration bill allows some dreamers who are no longer in the country to return. Why would anyone want to keep out smart, dedicated young Americans?
And they are Americans. They grew up here, they share the customs and values we all share. They add to the cultural richness of the United States.
Most immigrants believe in hard work, in a better life through struggle. They believe America is still the land of the free, the home of the brave. For these dreamers America is their home. They are brave. They should be free.
Meanwhile Public Radio International published a very comprehensive piece about the group over the weekend:
Attorneys representing the nine Dreamers said they were confident that all of them have a valid political asylum case.
The leading attorney in the cases, Margo Cowan, said the fact that they’re all virtually Americans exposes them to risks in Mexico. But she also emphasized that each of the Dreamers has a solid case.
For example, Cowan said, 37-year-old Claudia Amaro, along with her husband and 13-year-old son, was exposed to violence and persecution by criminals in the city of Torreon in the northeastern Mexican state of Coahuila. Amaro’s husband was kidnapped and two weeks after his release he was held at gunpoint by carjackers.
The family was forced to move to another side of town and was too afraid to report the crime to the police, Cowan said.
Many of the Dreamers involved in the action potentially could have qualified for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a deportation reprieve from the Obama administration, had they not left the country, Cowan explained.
“The president has the power to make changes if he wanted to include people that fall outside these guidelines,” Cowan said.
Under DACA, almost 400,000 young people have been able to obtain a deportation reprieve. It’s unclear how many who could have qualified for DACA have already been deported or left the country of their own will.