“Education not deportation,” is one of many chants students heard from demonstrators as they demonstrated outside of the MS building this past week as they showed in support for the Dream Act Bill or The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.
Starting last Wednesday the Dream Act Now! campaign at UTSA began a hunger strike to support passing the The Dream Act and getting the word out to students about this bill that has been 10 years in the making.
The Dream Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate Aug. 1, 2001, but was put aside following the terrorist attacks on Sep. 11, 2001. The act was officially re-introduced on Mar. 26, 2009.
“We won’t stop the strike until we have Hutchinson’s support and the Dream Act passes in the lame duck session,” according to a Dream Act Now! press release.
According to Julian Maldonado, a volunteer EMT basic and a pre-med student at UTSA, 16 people officially are fasting. He has been ordered to check the student’s blood pressure, respiratory rate and pulse three times a day.
The Dream Act is a piece of legislation that would provide certain inadmissible or deportable alien students who graduated from a United States high school, who are of good moral character, who have arrived in the U.S. as minors and have been in the country for at least five consecutive years the ability to earn permanent residency in the U.S. if they either pursue two years in the military or at least complete two years at a four year institution of higher learning.
“People are living in fear and [are] hiding. One of my own friends is having to live underground,” Adam Socki, one of the Dream Act Now! coordinators, said.
Some of the members of this campaign are undocumented students also known as Dreamers.
Lucy Martinez, a sophomore and a women studies and Mexican-American studies major is a Dreamer.
“We are sacrificing our health and bodies to express the Dream Act and are willing to risk it all. We want our voices to be heard. We want our politicians to defend our freedoms, so we can be all we can be; 2.1 million students are in this situation in the United States just like me. The Dream Act is common sense legislation. It upholds hard work, military and education,” Martinez said.
These students believe this bill has been put aside for too long and the government should finally do something about it.
“I feel that the urgency of this is so great that I need to help out my friends and fellow students and get the word out. I need to let the people forced into deportation be able to stay and complete their full potential,” William Wise, Media Coordinator for Dream Act Now! at UTSA, said.
To find out more information about Dream Act Now students can got to Facebook and search Dream Act Now UTSA or go to Change.org.