Today, Tuesday, November 30th is a National Day of Action for the DREAM Act!
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Pelosi are committed to passing the DREAM Act before the end of the lame duck session. As many of you know, the DREAM Act provides an opportunity for undocumented youth to become eligible for legal status by pursuing higher education and/or military service. In order to pass the DREAM Act, we all need to get on the phones and urge our representatives and senators to support the DREAM Act!
We, at Asian Pacific Islander Equality – Northern California , understand how important it is to fight for the DREAM Act. Mario, an undocumented, Chinese Peruvian, and queer student from the University of California, Berkeley, has been an inspiring leader in the fight for the DREAM Act. A few months ago, Mario made a courageous decision. He chose to participate in a nationally televised story about undocumented college students, produced by ABC News Good Morning America. The risk of being identified and deported might have stopped other undocumented students from participating in the story, but Mario is no stranger to difficult choices. After coming from Peru when he was 12 years old, Mario lived apart from his mother and father while attending Oceana High School in Pacifica. He was confronted with many prejudices against homosexuals, especially in his church, but still found ways to embrace his Christian beliefs and homosexuality. Mario graduated as valedictorian of his high school class, and then decided to pursue the rigorous Civil Engineering program at UC Berkeley. He has since been a leader in the LGBTIQ community, participating in activities with the Bay Area Gay Straight Alliance, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Asians & Pacific Islanders, Queer & Questioning, 25 & Under, All Together (AQU25A). He continues to contribute so much to our community, yet has no pathway to citizenship and full equality.
Mario is just one of the 1.2 million immigrants who identify as LGBTIQ in the United States.
Undocumented students, particularly those who would qualify under the DREAM Act would be youth who came to the U.S. at the age of 15 or younger. They most likely came to the states with their families without any choice. Their identity as a non-citizen is not something they can “choose.”
Like folks in our community, undocumented students also live with the fear of being outed. They are fearful of being attacked by vigilantes, being deported, and being isolated from their families.
We face hate speech that dehumanizes our communities like, “that’s so gay” and “faggot,” as undocumented students are labeled, “illegal” and “alien.”
Unless we stand together, we will continue to live as second-class citizens, whether because we are denied the right to marry the person we love or the right to full legal and social equality as citizens and contributing members of society. Please join us in taking a stand.
If you cannot attend the phone bank today, Tuesday, please take the time to call your senators and representatives on your own or even host a phone bank at your school or office. If you make calls, please email vanessa coe (email@example.com) for resources.