Friday, January 8, 2010

Immigrant Students, Risking Detention, Boldly Set Out on Trail of Dreams

Sometimes, when the world will not listen, when the insistent voices calling out for immigration reform go unheard, a few brave souls must take it upon themselves to lay out the path toward justice and equality. Enduring personal suffering for the sake of what's right, these individuals urge us all to be our best selves and reach out to one another in solidarity.

Felipe, Gaby, Juan, and Carlos
are today's brave souls. These four immigrant students have taken it upon themselves to march from Florida to Washington, DC, in support of the DREAM Act. Following the Trail of Dreams will take them four months and 1,500 miles in search of justice and equality for America's immigrants.

Their mission: To empower Americans to unite in solidarity for the passage of just and humane immigration reform.

Sleeping in churches and immigration centers, these students risk more than blisters and sore feet during their journey. Three of the four are undocumented and could be detained and deported for stepping out of the shadows. However, as Juan says, "I'm tired of coming back to school each semester and hearing about another friend who was picked up and deported." For these students, it's time to hit the pavement and march for reform.

Yet they are not alone: Supporters are welcome to join the walkers on the trail, shelter them or organize events, and sponsor them as they seek to reach DC. The media, including the Associated Press, has already picked up on their ambitious actions. The Reform Immigration FOR America campaign will join the students on May 1, when they plan to arrive in DC, to hold a rally for comprehensive immigration reform.

Many of today's undocumented youth, including the walkers, were brought to the United States as young children. Their memories are of growing up in the United States, going to school here, building a life here. Yet every day they face invisible barriers - they cannot get drivers licenses, in-state tuition, or meaningful employment. The DREAM Act would offer an accelerated path to legal status and eventual citizenship for undocumented youth who pursue higher education or military service.

How can you embark on the Trail of Dreams? Follow the walkers' blog and spread the word. Support them on the trail. Plan to be in Washington, DC, on May 1 to be one of the 100,000 people at the rally. Finally, show your support for the DREAM Act by urging your members of Congress to support comprehensive immigration reform.

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