Napolitano and ASU President Michael Crow on the DREAM Act

March 26, 2010

Thirty people were already in line by the time members of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition arrived.  It was 5:30pm and the lecture was set to begin at 7pm.  Nine hundred people had reserved their seats—an overflow room was already prepared.  We knew the importance of being there early and ready.

While waiting in line, our team was approached by three or four reporters including ASU State Press and Univision.  They wanted to know why we were there, what our message was.  Later that night Univision had us on the small screen—30 DREAMers at a lecture by Secretary Janet Napolitano on “Meeting New and Evolving Threats to Our National Security.”

Inside the hall, Secretary Napolitano focused on Aviation security and international efforts to secure our entry points.  That led to a discussion on immigration reform.  Secretary Napolitano made the following points.

1)  On CIR: “We’re going to keep pushing this until we get it over the finish line.”

2)  The Department of Home Land Security focuses on “criminal aliens,” and there has been nearly 20 percent increase in the deportation rate of criminal illegal immigrants since President Barack Obama took office.

3)  “The plain fact of the matter is — you cannot live freely if you live in fear”

4)  Napolitano observed that the Dream Act was consistently “the most popular part of any immigration attempt in Congress.”

The Arizona DREAM Act Coalition was organized, on-point, ready.  As we entered the hall and coordinated where we were going to sit, who was wearing the caps and gowns, and who would be holding the DREAM Act signs, you could tell that the people around us were a little nervous—or at least curious.  Kirsten Sinema (AZ State Legislature) and Jose Cardenas (Chief ASU Counsel) were amongst the audience members, and they both knew we were there and what our message was.  There was tension in the room, and we didn’t even say a word.  We didn’t say a word through the whole program, but our message was sent.

Michael Crow decided to ask at least three questions about immigration reform and focused heavily on the DREAM Act.  On first mention of the DREAM Act thirty members of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition stood up and clapped.  Wearing caps and gowns and holding signs, they made a powerful statement.  Secretary Napolitano could not ignore that and so after 10 seconds of clapping she started clapping herself and said “give it up!”  Gaby, one of our members, had a DREAM Act sign.  Secretary Napolitano looked right at her and gave her thumbs up.

Mr. Crow and Secretary Napolitano, we appreciate your support.  Many would call it lip-service, and they may be right.  Either way, we are all in agreement that words have not made a difference.  We need action.  In terms of action, I give you a thumbs down.

What does a finish line matter if the race has not even begun?  Who exactly are the players, Secretary Napolitano, that will get immigration reform and the DREAM Act over the finished line?

What does it mean to be a criminal immigrant?  Does it mean that my mom is a criminal immigrant when she gets pulled over for a broken tail light and is arrested?  But I guess it doesn’t even matter, since the majority or immigrants referred to ICE do not even have criminal convictions.

There cannot be freedom in fear and there cannot be security in fear.  Our broken immigration system and the policies of the Department of Home Land Security, policies which allow neo-nazi Sheriffs to target and attack people based on their skin color, clothing, and demeanor, have created communities that live in fear.  These communities will not trust the police, will not trust the State, will not trust the Census, and will not trust the Obama administration.

Immigration Reform is a matter of national security.  It is also a matter of national morality.  This is why the DREAM Act has overwhelming support because anyone that says educated, committed, hard-working Americans should be deported and attacked for something they had no control over is just plain immoral.

Check out more pictures in the Pictures Section

For Video Click Here At 8:17 Napolitano says “give it up!”

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One Response to “Napolitano and ASU President Michael Crow on the DREAM Act”

  1. jose said

    Rightly put Daniel, it is insignificant if we don’t continue to press the issue. Thursday night was magical and inspirational. It’s our time, keep the spirit of the DREAM Act burning in our hearts. La luncha comiensa, con todo DREAMERS.

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