Things That Matter

The DREAM Act Has Been Reintroduced And It May Have A Winning Chance This Time

In a year marked by increased raids, travel bans, and repeated threats to DACA, the bipartisan reintroduction of the DREAM Act stands as a small victory for immigrant rights groups. While its passage is not certain, its chances are far from hopeless if immigrant communities continue to engage allies.

Senator Dick Durbin first introduced the DREAM Act in 2001 to create a multi-step path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who, like me, arrived as minors. It would allow long-term residents who entered the country as minors to apply for conditional permanent residency and eventually citizenship if they first meet certain educational, military, or employment requirements.

Opponents of the DREAM Act argue that it would inspire a wave of illegal border crossings. This is a myth. Only those who can prove that they entered before the age 18 and had been continuously present in the United States for at least four years prior to the date of enactment would be eligible for conditional residency. The DREAM Act is also not amnesty. The path to citizenship would take at least thirteen years. I would be 40 years old when I could naturalize.

In 2010, the DREAM Act passed the House of Representatives but failed to garner the 60 votes necessary to clear the Senate. This time we can get it through. Assuming full Democratic support, we need at least nine additional Republican votes to avoid a filibuster. That number is not out of reach if we consider that seven current Republican Senators voted for comprehensive immigration reform in 2013, and two others support legislation protecting DACA recipients from deportation.

Its prospects in the House of Representatives are dire than in the Senate, but not hopeless. A major obstacle in the House is that many congressional districts lack sufficient immigrant presence, making it easier for representatives to vote against the bill. Although Latino and Asian Americans tend to have a more recent connection to immigration, a poll conducted by Global Strategy Group shows that a majority of Americans support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Dreamers alone cannot push Congress to act. We also need allies to do so, especially in states like Pennsylvania where immigrants do not comprise a significant electorate. Allies add financial resources and electoral power to our movement. I have been encouraged by the support I have encountered across the state from people not directly impacted by the failures of our immigration system. It is our responsibility to educate and mobilize them. Failing to do so is tantamount to malpractice.

What about President Trump, the man who built his political career on promises of merciless enforcement? Despite opposition from his base, Trump has softened his stance on DREAMers and has yet to end DACA, a discretionary policy allowing DREAM Act eligible youth to temporarily live and work in the United States.

DACA made it possible for me to complete two graduate degrees, to pursue opportunities abroad, and find employment that I am passionate about. Its full impact, however, is more subtle. I feel it every time I drive past a police car knowing I am licensed to drive, or when I don’t stress about what to put on under Social Security in an application, or when I confidently advocate for the rights of my community.

Now DACA is once again under threat. Passing the DREAM Act would provide us a path to citizenship and with it a level of security that DACA cannot. Our futures will no longer be at the mercy of the courts or whoever occupies the White House.

Our community won DACA because we organized and fearlessly shared our stories with America. As we continue to build our power, let us reject language that denigrates our parents for doing their best for us. They have in many cases sacrificed their dreams and well being so that we may realize ours. Accepting a rhetoric that absolves us while convicting our parents for bringing us to this country makes us accomplices in their continued marginalization. Let us move forward without exploiting their struggle for our benefit.

Carlos Adolfo Gonzalez Sierra is a graduate of Amherst and Cambridge Universities and currently works for the Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition (PICC).

READ: Judge Says Immigration Officials Didn’t Follow Protocol With DREAMer Jessica Colotl

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Radical Feminists Have Seized Control of a Federal Building in Mexico in Protest of the Government’s Apathy Towards Rampant Femicide

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Radical Feminists Have Seized Control of a Federal Building in Mexico in Protest of the Government’s Apathy Towards Rampant Femicide

Last week, Mexican feminist activists took over the National Human Rights Commissions federal building in a move to bring greater awareness to the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide that has racked Mexico for decades.

According to the federal Interior Secretariat, the statistics in Mexico have recently taken a turn for the worse.

Domestic violence against women has became an even more acute problem since the pandemic has forced women to stay insider with their abusers. Emergency distress calls reporting domestic violence have risen by 50%.

The occupation of the Human Rights building is just another chapter in the saga of the “Ni Una Menos” (Not One More Woman) movement, an anti-femicide collective born in Argentina that has steadily been gaining steam in Mexico since 2019.

In recent years, anti-femicide demonstrations have been sparked by various heinous crimes against women or girls that have been largely overlooked by law enforcement officials. 

Photo by Marcos Brindicci/Getty Images

Unfortunately, the government of Mexico has appeared to be apathetic to the wave of femicide that is overwhelming the women of their country.

Recently, when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was asked to address Mexico’s gender violence epidemic, he demurred, stating that he didn’t “want femicide to detract” from the raffle his administration was holding for the sale of the presidential airplane.

As for the feminist activists at the heart of Ni Una Menos and the federal building occupation, the government’s failure to respond to anti-woman violence is the primary fuel for their anger. 

“We’re here so that the whole world will know that in Mexico they kill women and nobody does anything about it,” said Yesenia Zamudio to the LA Times. According to Zamudio, she is still seeking justice for the murder of her 19-year-old daughter four years ago.

The women of Mexico appear to be fed up, grasping at any and all tactics that have the potential to incite change on a grander scale.

Their tactics may seem dramatic to some, but it’s undeniable that they are no longer being ignored. As of now, the radical activists are pulling attention-grabbing stunts like decorating a portrait of Mexican Revolution leader Francisco Madero with lipstick and purple hair.

They’re also making headlines for vandalizing the federal building’s walls and splashing paint on the doors of the presidential palace.

One thing is for sure: something has to change. Otherwise, thousands of innocent women and girls will continue to be raped, abused, and murdered while their perpetrators escape with immunity. 

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Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story

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Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story

Chip Somodevilla / Gettycc

After weeks of speculation and anticipation, presidential candidate Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he has officially picked his running mate.

In a history-making announcement, Biden revealed that he had tapped California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his VP Pick.

“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden announced in a tweet.

On Wednesday, Biden held his first campaign event alongside running mate Kamala Harris in Delaware.

During their speeches, the two candidates wore masks and kept their distance in keeping with COVID-19 standards.

Speaking about his VP pick, Biden described Harris as coming from an “America’s story.” Biden described Harris as “a child of immigrants” who “knows personally how immigrant families enrich our country as well as the challenges of what it means to grow up Black and Indian-American in the United States of America,” he explained. “And this morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and brown girls that feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities, but today — today just maybe they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way as president and vice presidents.”

In a speech of her own, Harris emphasized the importance of family and urged citizens to vote.  “We need a mandate that proves that the past few years do not represent who we are or who we aspire to be,” she said. “Joe likes to say that character is on the ballot. And it’s true,” she explained. “I’ve had a lot of titles over my career and certainly vice president will be great. But ‘Momala’ will always be the one that means the most.”

Harris’s nomination makes her the first Black and first Indian-American woman on either major party’s presidential ticket.

Harris is a former prosecutor from California who challenged Biden in her own presidential bid last year. Her nomination makes her the fourth woman to appear on a major presidential ballot. Before her, Geraldine Ferraro ran as a Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984. In 2008, Republican Sarah Palin ran as a vice presidential nominee, later in 2016, Hillary Clinton became the Democratic presidential nominee.

Biden’s choice was one that has long been in the works. In March of this year, he revealed that he would make a point to have a woman as his running mate and in July he announced that he had narrowed his picks down to four Black women.

Kamala Harris was elected to Congress in 2016.

This has been Harris’ first term as a senator. Before, she served as the California attorney general. During her time as AG, Harris formed a lasting friendship with Biden’s late son Beau who was attorney general at the time in Delaware. Writing about Beau’s death, in her memoir The Truths We Hold, Harris recalled that “there were periods when I was taking the heat when Beau and I talked every day, sometimes multiple times a day,” she wrote in her memoir. “We had each other’s backs.”

Biden’s son Beau died in 2015 from brain cancer. Harris attended his funeral.

During his announcement, Biden mentioned Harris’ friendship with his son.

“I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse,” Biden tweeted. “I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

So far, it seems there are quite a bit of Harris x Biden supporters.

Fans were quick to give their support and applaud her candidacy.

In a tweet acknowledging her nomination, Harris wrote “@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”

Here’s to 2020 y’all. Get ready to make history.

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