The DREAM has not died for MEChA de Penn.
In an effort to raise campus awareness of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, which failed to pass through Congress last month, Chicano culture group MEChA held a teach-in Wednesday afternoon on College Green.
The DREAM Act would provide a means for undocumented students to achieve permanent resident status and would be a “wonderful first step” toward alleviating the challenges faced by undocumented students, according to professor Emilio Parrado, who spoke at the teach-in.
“There’s no reason that can justify restricting access to education to undocumented children and holding them accountable for an act their parents committed,” said Parrado, a professor of sociology and associate director of Penn’s Population Studies Center.
According to Parrado, this is a “very difficult” time for immigrants in America.
“There have been periods throughout history of denying basic rights to certain groups and not thinking about the long-term consequences,” Parrado said. “It is difficult to convince people that we’re living in one of those periods.”
Parrado was joined by two undocumented college students, who discussed the challenges of attending school without legal residency status and the importance of the DREAM Act in helping future generations avoid the problems they faced.
Though Maria Marroquin immigrated to the United States from Peru when she was 13, she is forced to pay international fees to attend Montgomery County Community College. Marroquin is the co-founder of DreamActivist.org, a website that helps undocumented students.
“We cannot sit around and wait for politicians to act,” Marroquin said. “We need to act ourselves. We have come out as undocumented and unafraid.”
Above all, MEChA hopes the event helped to raise awareness of the situation.
“We hope that it put things in perspective,” MEChA’s East Coast Chicano Student Forum representative and College sophomore Kareli Lizarraga said. “This is an issue that affects all of us, considering that thousands of students in the United States are facing this dilemma.”
MEChA president and College junior Rosie Brown hopes people came away knowing that the DREAM Act is still a possibility, despite the setback.
“We’re trying to get more support for the undocumented students that are here,” Brown said. “We got a letter of support [for the DREAM Act] from [Penn President] Amy Gutmann, but we’re hoping for more and more tangible support.”
MEChA plans to hold more teach-ins in the future and to organize phone calls to senators to voice support for the act, Lizarraga said.Comments powered by Disqus
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