I thought I'd share this clip from Junot Diaz, (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) currently on a book tour for his latest novel, This Is How You Lose Her. He was asked about the politics of immigration and the DREAM Act, which provides an opportunity to gain legal status for undocumented students who entered the country before the age of 15, have been physically present in the United States for at least five years, graduate from high school, and/or complete at least two years of college or military service. Take action for the DREAM Act here.
As I am sure many of my Loyal Readers know, President Obama implemented the so-called mini-DREAM Act, allowing temporary relief to undocumented young people. Edwidge Danticat writes,
There is a powerful photograph of a group of undocumented young people—DREAMers—lying in the sand in Miami, their joined bodies spelling out the words “DREAM ACT NOW”, as if hoping to be seen from the heavens.
“DREAMers” are just what they sound like: bright, hopeful, and optimistic young people. They came here as children and have spent most of their lives in the United States. Yet they have remained in legal limbo, with the specter of deportation hanging over their heads. ...
Earlier this year, the Obama Administration granted relief from deportation to between 800,000 and 1.7 million DREAMers and made it possible for them to try to find work and/or get an education. This new policy can be reversed at any time—especially by an administration that is hostile to immigration—and can leave DREAMers back in limbo, back in the sand.Danticat wrote powerfully about the failures of our migrant and refugee policy in Brother, I'm Dying. Still on the case, check out her more recent New York Times editorial on immigrant detention here.
Finally, this month we are reading Hector Tobar's The Barbarian Nurseries, a novel layered with rich portraits of the immigrant experience in America. Tobar has also written a nonfiction book, Translation Nation: Defining a New American Identity in the Spanish-Speaking United States, so it's not surprising that he has insight to offer on the plight of young immigrants in the video below.
To learn more about how immigrants' rights are human rights and how you can get involved in supporting the DREAM Act and opposing abuses of immigrants in detention visit Amnesty International's campaign page.