How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Students wait as Senate Dream Act vote delayed until tomorrow, but House still votes tonight

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A homemade poster on the wall of the UCLA Downtown Labor Center, where about two dozen student activists are calling legislators and awaiting a vote on the Dream Act, December 8, 2010

The Senate won't be voting on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act now until tomorrow, according to a spokesman from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office. Meanwhile, the House continues to discuss the bill, with a vote still expected tonight.

For the college students and graduates who have been calling legislators all day from a makeshift call center in downtown Los Angeles, some since 6 a.m., waiting another day for the Senate to vote means another early morning. But those still around this afternoon at the UCLA Downtown Labor Center were unfazed, hoping the extra time might work in their favor. While the bill stands a chance of passing in the House, its prospects appear dim in the Senate, where more Republican votes are needed for cloture.

"Compromise needs to be realized," said Matias Ramos, 24, an undocumented UCLA graduate who now lives in Washington, D.C., where he works for a small Dream Act advocacy group. "That is the silver lining, that there may be a compromise."

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As seen on a t-shirt

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A student's bold statement, December 8, 2010

Worn by a student in Los Angeles while awaiting a vote on the Dream Act, as the Senate takes up the measure this afternoon.

About two dozen college students and graduates have spent the morning making calls to legislators from a makeshift phone bank at the UCLA Downtown Labor Center, across from McArthur Park.

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From readers, thoughts on the Dream Act

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A poster on the wall of the UCLA Downtown Labor Center by McArthur Park, where about two dozen student activists are calling legislators and awaiting a vote on the bill, December 8, 2010

The upcoming Dream Act vote has generated by far the most reader comments in Multi-American's young history. Some readers have argued back and forth with one another on the proposed legislation. Others have simply posted their thoughts, in some cases hinting at their own personal stories. Here are a few comments, unedited.

Among the most impassioned is one that came in today at 3:21 a.m. from Stefanieromero17, who posted this:

All we want is an opportunity to become someone in this world. You have to also realize that many young Americans waist their life’s at a young age. They start doing drugs, young girls get pregnant and many other things. All we are asking for is Americas help. we aren’t saying that you or America owe us something. We do not take your jobs. We do the jobs that many many Americans refuse to do. I’m pretty sure you or most Americans will not work the fields and all we are asking for is to do better than our parents. Me like many other immigrants came here at a young age. To us this is our country we would do anything to get the opportunity to go to college and become someone. If it ever comes to it we would give our life’s to this country in a heart beat. Well this is all i have to say.

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Waiting for a Dream Act vote

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Students at a makeshift call center downtown watch C-SPAN as they make final calls to legislators urging support for the Dream Act, December 8, 2010

Students are gathered at the UCLA Downtown Labor Center this morning to make last-minute calls to legislators and await a vote on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would grant conditional legal status to qualifying undocumented youths who attend college or join the military.

House and Senate votes are expected today; a Senate vote, which had been expected this morning, has been moved up to mid-afternoon Eastern time.

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In the news this morning: Dream Act coming up for a vote, AZ-style law proposed for CA, more

DREAM Act, Immigration Reform Bill to Get House, Senate Votes - ABC News Both the House and the Senate are expected to vote today on the measure, which would provide a conditional path to legal status for undocumented youths who attend college or enlist in the military.


Odds slim for passage of Dream Act in Senate - 89.3 KPCC The legislation faces an uphill climb, especially in the Senate, where it currently lacks the GOP support to win enough votes for passage.


Arizona-style immigration measure, gift limit among new legislative session's bills - Los Angeles Times A former Minuteman turned new state Assembly member has introduced a measure similar to Arizona's SB 1070.


Supreme Court to hear Arizona case about illegal workers - USA Today Today the high court will hear a federal challenge to an Arizona law that revokes the licenses of companies that hire undocumented workers.

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