|Att'y Jose Campos is hopeful that the Senate will finally act|
Their consensus? The system is broken.
This event was sponsored by Organizing For Action (OFA). That's a nonpartisan nonprofit, but is closely connected to President Obama's political agenda. Audience members were asked to contact Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey about the importance of fixing "America's broken immigration system."
|Att'y Ray Lahoud is himself the son of Lebanese immigrants|
The Dream is Now follows the lives of several young people who excelled in high school, only to learn that their own dreams were becoming nightmares because they are the children of undocumented aliens. Under our current immigration system, the sins of the parents are visited upon the children. Without citizenship or a social security number, "they are stuck in limbo."
As a result, a young man named Jose, who has a degree in Mechanical Engineering, spends his days as a stucco mason. His diploma collects dust despite a shortage in his profession..
Another high school overachiever committed suicide.
The remedy to this tragedy is the DREAM Act, first introduced in 2001. It provides a citizenship path for the children of undocumented aliens. Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain, who sponsored the original bill, fell a few votes short in 2005. Renewed efforts in 2010 were still five votes shy in the U.S. Senate, despite a CBO report showing that it would reduce the deficit by $2.2 billion over the next ten years.
After the Senate vote, talking head Glenn Beck taunted, "No way, Jose."
As Guggenheim poetically explains,
When we get close, voices on the fringe get louder and the same images come. It's nothing new for us. Pick a moment in history, and you can always find an invading race. The Chinese, the Jews, the Irish, the Italians. There is always a new Other we are told to fear. And consistent throughout the struggle, is the battle between our very worst instincts, and our very best. That this Other has become Us. And they've always made Us better.President Obama reacted to Congress' failure, in June 2012, with "DACA" (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). This provides work permits for undocumented young people who came to this country as children, pose no threat to national security, and have pursued education or military service.
|Att'y Kevin Santos worries about 40,000 Border Patrol Agents|
As a result, political winds are shifting. "Believe it or not, I see some glimmer of bipartisanship out there," notes Senator McCain.
A new Dream Act is scheduled for vote in the Senate, possibly as soon as this week. As a prelude, a new border security law just cleared the Senate. It provides for 20,000 new border patrol agents, the completion of a 700 mile fence next to Mexico, as well as the expanded use of radar and drones.
While that political weathervane changes direction, deportations are actually increasing. They are 50% higher under President Obama than they were under President Bush. Part of the documentary chronicles the plight of two children whose mothers were torn away from them. Public sentiment against Immigration became so overwhelming that federal authorities were embarrassed into changing course, in one case stopping a bus that was deporting a mother to Mexico.
"The whole country mobilized and stopped the bus," claimed Erika Andiola, daughter of one of these mothers.
Erika's dream is medical school. Will it come true? That depends on her ... and Congress.