LatinaLista — This week, the state of Arkansas became the latest state to announce that some of their police agencies were going to apply for federal authority to detain undocumented immigrants who are arrested for other crimes. The Arkansas police want to help federal agents in deporting the undocumented.
So for a violation as minor as jaywalking, not having your seat belt buckled or even a taillight out, police while pulling over people can now target immigrants, aka Hispanics, and hold them in custody until federal agents arrive.
Nationwide, there are 20 approved such programs and applications are pending for 71 other police agencies. It is one program that receives direct funding from taxpayers.
Programs like these that are distinctly set up to target undocumented immigrants strive to paint a generic, faceless picture of the immigrant.
It’s easier on the conscience to see them this way rather than human beings with families, responsibilities and dreams like everyone else.
Tomorrow, the beginning of a nationwide initiative will put a very human face to the immigrant and his/her dreams. It’s called Dreams Across America.
Organizers of the project describe it as:
In eight days (June 13th- 20th) via ten cities, the tour will bring together one hundred diverse individuals from throughout the country referred to as Dreamers. These Dreamers will share their compelling stories and reinforce what still holds true today – no matter our backgrounds, immigrant or native born, we all cherish the values that make this country prosper. However, only by working together to address our nation’s broken immigration laws, can we continue to achieve and live the American dream.
The train leaves Los Angeles tomorrow and stops along its way to DC at cities like San Antoio, Chicago, Miami, New York and Boston. In each of those towns, rallies are being planned to welcome the train and its passengers, as well as, saying good-bye to the local dreamers who will join the journey and share their stories.
El Cucuy tells the story of his American Dream.
(Source: Dreams Across America)
As a way to share the stories with everyone, video recordings of each person’s story is being made and posted at YouTube and the web site’s video section.
Building on the premise that this country is a nation of immigrants who came from somewhere else, the event’s organizers want people to share their own stories too.
Though the purpose of this cross-country train ride is to let Congress and the American people see that immigration has long and deep roots in this country and immigrants have always arrived on these shores in search of making their dreams come true, the train trip is also a statement to Congress that people, for whom the immigration bill affects the most, are wanting a comprehensive immigration reform bill that has some specific points included in it.
For that reason, an online petition can be found at the site. It reads:
I AM GETTING ON THE TRAIN!
As 100 Dreamers, first to fifth generation immigrants, ride the rails from LA, Chicago, Miami, Boston and New York to meet in Washington, I am riding with them. They are my immigration story. They are my America.
America is a place where dreams come true.
The Dreams Across America campaign tells the story of who we are as a nation, with a proud immigrant history. The Dreamers represent the faces of immigration, because immigration touches all our lives. Our lives, as citizens and immigrants, are intertwined, and how we address the issue of immigration should reflect our values.
As we move forward to fix our broken immigration system, I support reform that:
* Keeps families together by preserving the current family immigration system and eliminating immigration backlogs.
* Brings Immigrants out of the shadows by providing a path to citizenship, and helps achieve their positive integration into American society.
* Strengthens our economy by creating legal avenues for workers to come, while ensuring that all workers have rights and dignity.
* Protects our borders and improves life in border communities by establishing an immigration system that works.
It is time to make history and achieve reform that will uphold the nation’s ideals of basic fairness, opportunity for all, and equal treatment under the law. We want dreams to come true. Support the Dreamers. Support America.