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  • Immigration Reform and the Military: Our Role as Arab-American Advocates, and The Northern California DREAM Mobilization’s call to action

    DreamAct2

    The Dream Act, also known as The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act—would provide an opportunity for undocumented young people to obtain citizenship by attending college for at least two years or enlisting in the military. Supporters of the federally-proposed act take the side of undocumented youth wishing to receive higher education and a long-awaited chance at citizenship. However, those in opposition say the military portion and conditional residency components make for an unfair bill and leave undocumented youth with a detrimental choice.

    In a debate on Democracy Now, “Is DREAM Act a Solution for Millions of Undocumented Youth or a Funnel for Military Recruitment?”, Camilo Mejía of Iraq Veterans Against the War, describes his opposition to the Dream Act as a ‘Pentagon-written’ legislation that actually does not provide safety from deportation even after an individual under the Dream Act returns back from war. Additionally, Mejía explained that “Out of the 65, 000 undocumented youth that graduate from high school every year, the vast majority are not going to have the English level to gain access directly into high education, so the military will provide an answer for that”. Although there is a regional California Dream Act that may surface, allowing undocumented students access to financial aid, as of now funding is a central issue for many students. An undocumented student cannot receive Pell Grants or Federal-based scholarships, and would not be promised half of the benefits if they were to chose the college path under the Dream Act as opposed to the military route (the military would provide tuition waivers, financial stability, housing, and health care).

    Obama has expressed support for the Act, and many grassroots organizations suggest that it is an imperative step towards immigration reform in this country. Immigration reform is a need felt by many communities including our own, and although this bill may not be the comprehensive measure we need, it is something we can build from. Nevertheless, as an individual against war, an organizer for immigrant rights, and a person of color in America, this legislation would make a double-edged precedent. So whe­re do we fit in, as the Arab community? We should stand by our companeros and companeras but also be weary of a poverty draft that further expands military occupations in the Middle East. In other words, while considering the need for this reform as the highest priority, it is also important we are conscious of the manipulation of education and citizenship as a recruitment mechanism.

    Link to Democracy Now interview

    http://www.democracynow.org/2010/8/20/debate_is_dream_act_a_solution

     

    The Northern California DREAM Mobilization’s CALL TO ACTION

    Immigrant-Rights-Flyer-December-3rd[1]

    Friday, December 3rd,

    San Francisco Federal Building – and march to Senator Fienstein’s office

    Rally and March @ 12 PM

    Pass our DREAM! Full Legalization for Immigrant Students Now!

    At the October 16 NorCal DREAM Summit held at UC Berkeley, over 50 DREAM activists and organizations ranging from the Central Valley to Santa Rosa came together to build a united DREAM movement here in Northern California. The first step was decided at the Summit: to build a mass mobilization in San Francisco on December 3rd.

    But why a DREAM Summit? And why an action on Dec. 3rd?

    The DREAM Summit was called by the Bay Area Dream Act Coalition (BADAC) in response to the games that the politicians have been playing with our dreams. The politicians have promised us legalization, but instead all we get is rotten compromises and inaction.

    Bitter experience has shown us that the only way to win our dream — full legalization for all undocumented students — is through independent mass mobilizations in the streets, to force the politicians to implement our demands.

    More than ever, the passing of – and the content of – the DREAM Act depends on our independent struggles today. As the Call for the Summit states, “the future of the DREAM Act depends on us being able unify and push forward in united action. (Dec. 3rd) must be the beginning of a united and cohesive DREAM Movement here in Northern California. Other regions throughout the country have already taken this step, it is now our turn!”

    It is for this reason that the NorCal DREAM Summit is calling on all organizations and activists from Northern California and beyond to mobilize in mass at the San Francisco Federal Bldg on Dec. 3rd. This struggle has the potential to become a key stepping stone in the overall struggle to end the deportations and win papers for all!

    To endorse the Dec. 3rd NorCal DREAM Mobilization and to get involved with the DREAM Summit Continuation Committee please email us the following information:

    Contact info: bayareadreamactcoalition@gmail.com

    List of endorsers:   Rising Immigrant Scholars Through Education (RISE); IMASS from De Anza; MECHA from Stanford; MECHA from UC Berkeley; El Organizador, MECHA from Santa Clara; MECHA from San Jose City College; La Raza Centro Legal / SF Day Labor Program; Immigrant Legal Resource Center, San Francisco; El Comite de Padres Unidos, San Francisco, CA; Unidad Popular Benito Juarez (UPBJ); Educators for Fair Consideration, San Francisco; HITEC AZTEC COMMUNICATIONS; ASPIRE at UC Berkeley;Barrio Unido; Xinaxtli from UC Berkeley; IDEAS from SF State