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luvmylabs23139
08-02-2010, 10:34 AM
On July 20, 22 young illegal immigrants in caps and gowns entered the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., and began sit-ins in the offices of several senators. Twelve soon returned to the atrium, where they formed a circle around a banner reading "Undocumented and Unafraid." Refusing to be moved, the students were arrested by Capitol Police, as were nine others who had stayed put in the offices of Sen. John McCain and Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Less than two miles away, a similar protest by a separate but allied group was taking place at Lafayette Square in front of the White House. These students went a step further. Openly announcing their immigration status and giving their full names just across the Mall from Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters, they forced a difficult choice upon ICE officials.

Take no action, and ICE would undermine the law. But come down hard by deporting the students, many of them still teenagers, and it would risk drawing overwhelming public outcry.

These individuals—plus several hundred more high school and college students of illegal status—had come to the capital to call for passage of the floundering Dream Act. Dream, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, co-sponsored by 36 senators, including Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) and Richard Lugar (R., Ind.), would offer temporary residency to students who arrived in the U.S. illegally as minors if they attend college. It would grant them permanent residency upon graduating.

Young people have come to the capital every year since 2001 to demonstrate in support of the act. But many senators suggest that the bill remains five votes short of the 60 needed for cloture, and it has slim prospects of being passed during this session of Congress. So in order to draw greater attention to their cause, affected students decided to undertake a risky form of civil disobedience. If arrested, they faced deportation.

Yet ICE has stated that it has no intention of initiating deportation proceedings against the students arrested in the Washington protests. The officials likely wanted to avoid a repeat of what happened last month with a Harvard student named Eric Balderas.

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Associated Press
.Mr. Balderas had deportation proceedings opened against him after authorities discovered his status as he was passing through security at an airport. The case attracted widespread media attention and international backlash. Harvard administrators stated their support for Mr. Balderas, whose case was soon taken up by Mr. Durbin. After less than two weeks, ICE backed down, halting Mr. Balderas's deportation indefinitely.

Hoping the sit-in will fade from the public view, ICE is sticking to the safe line that the students' actions in Washington simply "illustrate the need for comprehensive immigration reform," as spokesperson Gillian Brigham told me.

Yet this strikes many on Capitol Hill as an inexcusable failure to enforce the law. "It's outrageous," California Rep. Gary Miller told the Orange County Register. "How can you have a protest right in a U.S. senator's office, admit you are here illegally in violation of the law, and we pat you on the back and do nothing?"

But even doing nothing stands to strengthen the "Dreamers." Pictures of these students protesting with impunity are already making an impression on students of illegal status from coast to coast, spreading the movement with the aid of social networking websites.

With that momentum, the activists intend to maintain a continuous presence in the capital. One organizer, Mo Abdollahi, who was brought to America illegally from Iran as a child, told me that the protests will go on "as long as it takes" for Dream to pass. At the same time, Mr. Abdollahi disputes the notion that these actions are deliberate provocations in the mold of Gandhi or King. He says that the Dreamers are "just trying to live [their] lives." If that means deportation, he says, it is a price they are willing to pay.

Is their goal to force another public deportation crisis like that of Eric Balderas? "We are not deliberately trying to do that," he claims. If the students' civil disobedience brings the force of the law down upon them, he says, that is simply a hazard of their activism. Other student leaders told me that there is more calculation behind the actions in Washington. But whether these activists are naïve or calculating, their effectiveness is impossible to dispute.

The protests this month are most significant not because of any direct influence they may have on lawmakers, but because they are drawing other young people with illegal status out into the open, undoing the chilling effect that legal vulnerability has long had on illegal immigrants' political activism. As the fall elections near, such activism will likely serve as another flash point for an already volatile issue.

Mr. Levin, winner of the 2010 Eric Breindel Collegiate Journalism Award, is an intern at the Journal this summer.

luvmylabs23139
08-02-2010, 10:35 AM
AS usual the lwas are ignored. Everyone of these people should have been arrested and deported on the spot!!!!!
BOarder jumpers are breaking the law and need to go yeasterday!

troy schwab
08-02-2010, 10:45 AM
Heck.... thats like 30+ new democrats....... BO will probably offer them immunity........ ROFL........

Julie R.
08-02-2010, 11:18 AM
This has been on our news, but not as much as you'd think since we get D.C. area networks. I highly doubt a few pointy head Ivy League types urging leniency/amnesty for these criminals no matter how much media attention they got, would sway the minds of the majority of U.S. citizens, especially in this area. Lock em up and send em home!! I also doubt there'd be much constituent support for the DREAM act in the current climate. At least around here, illegals have overwhelmed county services and cost the public schools millions. With all the belt-tightening of local budgets there is increasing restlessness with the administration's refusal to even address the problem by people of all political persuasions. We don't need the DREAM act, we need to start by doing away with the anchor baby status and enforcing the laws we already have.

ducknwork
08-02-2010, 12:00 PM
What a bunch of BS.:-x Whoever made the decision at ICE to do nothing needs to be fired. I know I would get fired if I refused to do my job.

Gerry Clinchy
08-02-2010, 04:52 PM
Obama on TV this AM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/02/obama-immigration-policy_n_667017.html


Obama tells CBS he believes immigration control advocates "are absolutely correct." But he also says "what we can't do is demagogue the issue." The president tells anchor Harry Smith he wants to "work with Arizona," while insisting that national immigration policy cannot be left to "anybody who wants to make a name for themselves."


What this quote does not include is the ending to that last sentence ... which specifies "anybody who wants to make a name for themselves who is anti-immigrant"

In that sentence he left out the key word "illegal".

I really don't like the cheap shots he takes and insinuates something like this that anyone against the AZ law is against legal immigration. I don't believe most Americans, including those in AZ, are against hard-working immigrants who are looking for a better life for themselves and their families.

charly_t
08-03-2010, 04:36 AM
Welllllll.....it would seem to this dumb old country hick that if those students were arrested and sent "home" to whatever country they came from it might be easier during this process to locate their parents in this country and send them "home" also. Got to keep these families together you know.

Tired of being walked on. Niether a carpet nor a doormat be !!!!

gman0046
08-03-2010, 09:52 AM
As a Management Federal employee, I can assure you ICE employees are not the only ones not doing their job. Many Federal employees in other agencies don't hit a lick either. It's like a living is owed to them. I could be at this keyboard all day typing if I outlined my experiences with Federal employees.