Feathered Bastard

Barack Obama's Shame: DREAM Activists Rally Outside Phoenix ICE Office as Part of National Day of Action

It can only be described as a massive violation of human rights, what this country has done to deny a future to an entire generation of individuals, who for all intents and purposes are Americans.

I'm talking about the hundreds of thousands of bright, undocumented youth who would qualify for a pathway to legalization under the DREAM Act, individuals whose lives are in limbo and who must deal with the daily risk of arrest and deportation, all because they were brought to the United States while they were young. 

Their predicament should be familiar to all. Indeed, polls consistently show widespread support for the DREAM Act, which would grant some form of legal residency to students brought to the United States from other countries while children. This, if they meet certain requirements, including either going to college or serving in the military.

Heck, even here in the Land Time Forgot, where being brown is an open invite for the cops to hassle you, 73 percent of registered voters approve of the proposed legislation.

But for those of us who do not fret about proving our right to reside in this country, it's easy to forget the unjust circumstances DREAMers have become used to, like living in fear of being stopped by law enforcement, and dealing with the fallout when they are.

The hardships DREAMers must endure weighed on me as I talked to about a dozen of them outside the Phoenix offices of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Thursday. 

Symbolically dressed in graduation garb, they were there as part of a nationwide day of action in support of the proposed law, which remains buried beneath the cynical political calculations of both Republicans and Democrats, including the President of the United States.

Take the experience of Edder Martinez, whom I met at Thursday's event. Martinez, 21, told me that he was born in Mexico City and was brought to the U.S. when he was five. He said he considers himself to be as American as his younger brother who was born in the states. 

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons