Photo by DreamActivist/Flickr (Creative Commons)
DREAM Act supporters outside L.A. City Hall, June 2009
Since Tuesday, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that he would attach the DREAM Act to a defense bill and move it toward a vote next week, the proposed legislation has been perhaps the biggest story involving the children of immigrants - in particular, young 1.5 generation immigrants here illegally after having arrived with their families as minors, many as young children. It is estimated that as many as 65,000 undocumented youths graduate from high school in this country each year, according to a fact sheet put out last year by the National Immigration Law Center.
So just what is the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act, and what is its intended efect?
The proposed legislation itself is not new. Several bipartisan versions have been introduced in Congress since 2001, always falling short of the requisite support to move forward. It was last voted on in 2007. The current version of the bill was introduced in March of last year.
Art courtesy of Julio Salgado
Libertad, the heroine of Julio Salgado's "Liberty for All" comic strip
An online comic strip about an undocumented college graduate named Libertad, nicknamed Liberty, has achieved unexpected notoriety in recent weeks, with art from the comic circulated on Facebook and on fliers distributed by supporters of the DREAM Act.
"Liberty for All" follows the story of Liberty, a young woman who arrived with her family illegally as a child, has finished college, but can't get a regular job because of her status. She finds herself working for her aunt doing housekeeping, a maid with a college degree.
The strip is the work of Julio Salgado, a Cal State Long Beach student who himself is undocumented, here since he was 11. It has been making the rounds online after debuting six weeks ago on Facebook, with regular installments posted on Salgado's Notas From the Beach blog. Until last year Salgado drew cartoons for the campus newspaper the Daily 49er, including another comic strip.
News Analysis - Immigration Path for Students Pushed in Senate - NYTimes.com (The New York Times)
Prison Industry Ties to Anti-Immigration Bills « The Washington Independent (The Washington Independent)
Both Muslim and American - moneya - Open Salon (open.salon.com)
Hurricane Karl batters Mexico as it nears landfall - CNN.com (edition.cnn.com)
For Maya community, a paradise lost - latimes.com (Los Angeles Times)
The Complicated Messy Way the DREAM is Coming | VivirLatino (vivirlatino.com)
Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC
DREAM Act supporter Sophia Sandoval calls members of the Senate from her iPhone at a makeshift phone bank in Westlake, September 16, 2010
A dozen or so young DREAM Act supporters sat in a cramped room in the Westlake district this afternoon, using every available phone line as they scrolled down lists of phone numbers for U.S. senators. When there weren't enough land lines, they used their cell phones.
With a Senate vote coming up next week on the DREAM Act, proposed legislation that would provide a path to legal status for undocumented youths who attend college or join the military, the students manning a makeshift phone bank at the UCLA Labor Center by McArthur Park had no time to waste.
"This is really going to define an entire generation in what we are able to generate for the economy," said Fabiola Inzunza, 24, an undocumented UCLA graduate who recently completed her degree after six years of attending on and off while she worked, unable to obtain public student loans because of her status.
What promises to be an interesting documentary on the most recent construction forming part of the U.S.-Mexico border fence screens tonight on HBO at 8 p.m. Pacific. From the synopsis for "The Fence" provided by HBO:
In Oct. 2006, the U.S. government decided to build a 700-mile fence along its troubled 2000-mile-plus border with Mexico. Three years, 19 construction companies, 350 engineers, thousands of construction workers, tens of thousands of tons of metal and $3 billion later, was it all worth it?
The expense involved in building border fencing has been mind-boggling: One particular stretch of fence completed last year between San Diego and Tijuana, which required the filling in of a steep canyon with 1.5 million cubic yards of dirt, cost $48.6?million.
It was part of a $59?million contract to complete about 3½ miles of fence in the area altogether, authorized prior the Secure Fence Act (which covered the 700 miles).