Students rally downtown for immigration reform

Suneil Kamath, Civic Engagement Reporter

Community members advocate for passage of the DREAM Act

Though election season has come and gone, immigration reform continues to be a hot political topic. It’s a polarization: some Americans believe illegal immigrants are stealing jobs that American citizens could have and should therefore be deported; others support a gradual naturalization process. Either way, it seems to be a cause to focus on.

“A lot of people think that unless it’s an election season, they don’t need to worry about politics,” says Case Western Reserve University community member Paul Henderson. “The fact of the matter is that you need to stand up for the issues you care about all the time, not just during elections.”

It’s not always a matter of one belief over another. Sometimes it’s a matter of circumstance. Many alien minors entered the United States under the supervision of their parents at too young an age to have a choice of what to do. For many Americans, this has become a concern. The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, proposed to Congress in 2001, aims to address this concern. In short, the DREAM Act would give illegal minors who have lived in the United States the opportunity to go to college or join the nation’s military to earn conditional residency and avoid deportation.

Since its proposal, the DREAM Act has faced much scrutiny and has never been passed. Some people argue, for example, that the DREAM Act is essentially promoting illegal immigration at a young age and efforts should be focused on border control rather than policy change.

As a result of the controversy, The Dream is Now national campaign sprouted to take a more grassroots approach to pass the act through informing students about immigration issues and mobilizing them to take action. The campaign shows is a documentary directed by Davis Guggenheim, the director of “An Inconvenient Truth,” about the act and its importance on college campuses across the country to accomplish its mission.

A few CWRU students and community members are working for The Dream is Now campaign and trying to raise support for the issue on campus and throughout Cleveland. “Campaigns like The Dream is Now give the public a voice in Washington, and it’s important that we get more people involved,” said Henderson.

In fact, on Saturday, April 6, seven CWRU students and 10 community members went to Senator Rob Portman’s office in downtown Cleveland to rally for immigration reform.

“We were holding up signs that said ‘Honk for opportunity’ and ‘Honk for immigration reform’ and we were able to get 130 honks in 45 minutes,” said CWRU freshman Sun-Mee Kasper.

For students who want to learn more about the DREAM Act or the campaign, there will be a screening of “The Dream is Now” documentary in the Spartan Room of Thwing Center today at 3 p.m.