‘Dream 9’ Tactics Take Debate Beyond Halls of Congress

Aug. 1, 2013 / By

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New America Media, News Report, Valeria Fernández

ELOY, Ariz. — From inside the tiny rectangular windows at the Eloy Detention Center, the Dreamers arrested in last week’s protest could see the long white banner outside that spelled their names in red letters: “Maria, Claudia and Adriana.”

Dozens of people have been demonstrating outside the detention center in support of the “Dream 9,” a group of nine undocumented immigrants who were arrested after taking part in a controversial action on July 22: They turned themselves in at the U.S. port of entry in Nogales, Ariz., asking for humanitarian parole to re-enter the United States.

As the House of Representatives debates long-term immigration reform, the group behind this unprecedented act of protest is shining a light on what they see as an immediate humanitarian crisis: the deportations and detentions being carried out by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“We want their families to get back together,” explained Mohammad Abdollahi, a 27-year-old who volunteers with the National Immigration Youth Alliance (NIYA). Abdollahi wasn’t part of the Dream 9’s action, but he has participated in other Dreamer protests and helped organize this one. “We are not going to be lobbying in Congress for immigration reform to pass; we are going to be lobbying for our families to be released.”

On July 22, nine Dreamers presented themselves at the port of entry of the border city of Nogales, wearing caps and graduation gowns, each of them accompanied by a religious leader.

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