Alfredo Allende is 19 years old and an undocumented immigrant who has been living in the United States by himself for the past two years.
“I can’t go back [home] because of my immigration status,” Allende said at a DreamActivist rally, “and back in Mexico I won’t be able to help my family financially, but here I can.”
Allende was one of eight speakers at a rally on Monday in Spring Gardens hosted by DreamActivist Pennsylvania, an undocumented immigrant-led activist group committed to defending rights of immigrant youth.
The purpose of the rally was to raise awareness of the #Dream8, a group of eight undocumented immigrant youth activists that are trying to cross the border from Mexico back into the United States.
Under current statutes and practices, once an undocumented immigrant leaves the country, it is difficult, if not impossible, for him to return.
However, #Dream8 wanted to test the extent of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act, a law passed in 2012 which prevents the deportation of immigrant youth, giving them temporary residency in the United States.
Under this law, since members of #Dream8 have lived in the United States for the required amount of time they theoretically should be allowed back across the border into America.
Members of #Dream8 sought to test DACA’s power by attempting to march across the Mexican border into the U.S.
Rising College senior and member of National Immigration Youth Alliance Emanuel Martinez, who was one of the speakers of the rally, said that it was imperative that people be aware of immigration issues in America like those that are afflicting #Dream8.
One thing he noted was the pervading prejudice against undocumented immigrants that is sometimes felt in the country.
“The usage of the terms like ‘citizens,’ ‘illegal,’ ‘undocumented’ are artificial terms used to categorize people and separate them, and essentially they are unpractical and unnecessary for human survival,” he said.
Martinez also noted the importance of raising awareness of the group through their own social media accounts.
“I think social media was what made the Trayvon Martin case huge,” Martinez said. “There were over a hundred cities involved. By being able to connect these small events on social media, together as a whole, I think we will be able to raise awareness.”
Due to the ad hoc nature of the rally, there were few attendees at the event. However, DreamActivist will use the hashtags “#Dream8” and “#BringThemHome” to continue to raise awareness about the cause.
Among the few attendees was Engineering graduate student Timothy Li, who is a documented citizen. Li is ethnically Chinese and attended the rally because he wanted to learn more about current situation of immigrants in the United States.
“[Immigration] is not solely a Latino thing — it is a big issue on other races too,” Li said. “It affects people of all races.”Comments powered by Disqus
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