DREAM Act Campaign and Undocumented Youth movement
One Michigan served as the Michigan organization dedicated to passing the DREAM Act since its formation. Through the battle for the DREAM Act, One Michigan was able to build its base, continue its growth, and provide a space for undocumented students. The following was accomplished during the DREAM Act campaign.
Coming out of the Shadows- Undocumented immigrants have been told they needed to be secret about their status and have been characterized as living in the shadows. One Michigan youth in protest of the unfair images of undocumented immigrants decided to come out of the shadows and declare themselves “Undocumented and Unafraid.” One Michigan continues to support undocumented youth in their struggles and being out in the community as “Undocumented and Unafraid,” provides a safe space for these students.
Marches and Rallies- One Michigan recruited over 300 people to go to the March for America in Washington D.C after only 4 weeks of existence. In Michigan, we organized a march and rally on May 1st in Ann Arbor as President Obama was giving the commencement speech. There were over 500 people in attendance.
Avenue of DREAMs- 15 undocumented youth and immigrant rights allies walked from Detroit to Ann Arbor for 2 days. They raised awareness on the DREAM Act and President Obama’s inaction on the issue. They arrived in Ann Arbor as the May 1st action began.
DREAM Act 5 actions- One Michigan co-founder and undocumented student leader, Mohammad Abdollahi participated in a sit-in at Senator John McCain’s office in Tuscon, Arizona in order to pressure congress to take action on the DREAM Act. Feeling inspired by the risk he was taking, One Michigan members organized a week of action. They organized state-wide rallies, and prayer vigils. 5 members went on a HUNGER STRIKE. They collected over a 1,000 signatures in support of the DREAM Act. With all of these actions occurring, One Michigan was able to secure a meeting with Senator Debbie Stabenow.
D.C DREAM Act Action- One Michigan sent 40 students to Washington D.C to be a part of the largest mobilization for the DREAM Act. While there students participated in a mock graduation for DREAM eligible youth, a march, and prayer vigils. One Michigan co-founder and undocumented youth leader Jose Franco participated in a sit-in at the U.S capitol along with 20 other undocumented youth leaders. This was the largest action of undocumented students.
END (Education Not Deportation) Campaign- Across the nation immigrant youth organizations much like One Michigan have been stopping the deportations of immigrant youth. Many times they were told it could not be done by larger organizations. However, with grassroots campaigning they have deferred many deportations. Here in Michigan we were able to be a key factor in stopping the deportation of Ivan Nikolov, a DREAM eligible student who emigrated from Russia. One Michigan organized rallies, and massive call-in days and with the help from other immigrant youth rights organization were able to stop his deportation.
DOD Attachment vote- During the vote to have the DREAM Act attached to the Defense Authorization Bill, One Michigan made and organized over 5,000 calls in support.
Military DREAMers Action- One Michigan members are inspired by the risks that One Michigan leaders took. Another One Michigan member, Guillermo Mercado, decided to stop waiting for Congress to decide when they wanted to take action and apply direct pressure. He participated in a sit-in at Senator McCain’s office in Washington D.C. He along with 4 other DREAMers who wanted to serve in the armed services took part in this sit-in. In Michigan, members organized a prayer vigil and made over 1,000 calls to Congress.
Lameduck vote- During the lameduck session, the DREAM Act came up for a vote. One Michigan members, were there lobbying for every single vote and were instrumental in securing the House vote. In Michigan, members had call-in marathons, and made and organized thousands of calls.
As a result of all of these actions that occurred in Michigan and across the nation, we were able to apply enough pressure to get a vote in both the House and Senate. Undocumented youth were leading the fight in Washington D.C including One Michigan members. With their leadership and support from all over, the DREAM Act was able to pass in the House and fell just 5 votes shy in the Senate. This was a true testimony of the incredible leadership of undocumented youth.