Multi-American

How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Audio from today's Patt Morrison show: The DREAM Act and student activism

A sign outside a DREAM Act rally in Los Angeles last summer.
A sign outside a DREAM Act rally in Los Angeles last summer. Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

In recent weeks I've posted several stories and updates related to the DREAM Act, a bill that would allow a path to legal status for undocumented young people who attend college or enlist in the military. A House vote is expected soon, possibly later this week.

Part of the reason that the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which has been introduced and failed several times over the course of nearly a decade, is getting so much attention this time is because of unprecedented activism among the very undocumented students it would benefit.

During previous DREAM Act vote cycles, the bulk of these youths remained in the shadows. But since the bill was introduced again last year, a growing number of students who have been here illegally since they were children have been coming out publicly about their immigration status to make a statement in support of the bill, attaching their names and faces to it, and generating publicity. Some have risked arrest and deportation by participating in rallies and sit-ins; others have stuck their necks out as well-known student leaders.

This afternoon I talked about what's driving these students and their risky activism on 89.3 KPCC's Patt Morrison show, which featured an informative segment on the DREAM Act. Among the other guests on the show were Pedro Ramirez, the CSU Fresno student body president who was recently outed in his campus newspaper, and Luis Perez, a UCLA law school graduate whose story was featured recently in the Los Angeles Times. Ramirez arrived in this country with his family at age three, Perez at eight.

The audio from the segment can be heard here.

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