The Dream 9 Return Home
The “Dream 9” activists returned on August 8 to the site where they had been handcuffed and placed in detention just 17 days before. They stood in front of the border crossing in Nogales with their fists in the air and a banner that stated, “We’re Home – Families Beyond Borders.”
The “Dream 9” activists returned on August 8 to the site where they had been handcuffed and placed in detention just 17 days before. They stood in front of the border crossing in Nogales with their fists in the air and a banner that stated, “We’re Home – Families Beyond Borders.” An international campaign won their release the day before from the Eloy Detention Center which is owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America.
Lizbeth, Lulu and Marco traveled from the U.S. to Mexico last month to visit their families and return with the other six. They all presented themselves at the border crossing on July 22 and requested to be allowed re-entry to the U.S. on humanitarian grounds.
Their courageous action raised awareness about the hundreds of thousands of families that have been torn apart by the Obama administration’s aggressive deportation policies. It was also a bold demand that people who have been deported should be allowed to return home to the U.S. Obama has now deported more people than any other president in history – 1.7 million.
Eight of the activists would have qualified for the DREAM Act which proposed legal residency for people who arrived in the country as minors and completed high school in the U.S. The bill passed the House of Representatives in 2010 but failed in the Senate.
Adriana left the U.S. last year because she wanted to pursue a college degree and couldn’t afford to do so as an undocumented student in Arizona. She spent seven months living and working at the San Juan Bosco migrant shelter here in Nogales.
Ceferino went back to Mexico because he needed ear surgery that would have cost $21,000 in the U.S. He tried to return to the U.S. in June.
Luis left in 2011 after the DREAM Act failed. He tried to cross back into the U.S. four times last year.
Maria started college but could no longer afford it and returned to Mexico last year. She had to put off her education here in order to work and sustain her family.
Claudia was deported after her husband was detained while he was driving to work.
All of the Dream 9 filed petitions for political asylum after they were denied permission to re-enter the U.S. on humanitarian grounds. The immigration authorities determined that they each had a “credible fear” of being harmed or killed if sent back to Mexico. They were released on parole and will continue to fight for their right, and the right of hundreds of thousands of others like them, to be home in the U.S.
They have overcome the fear of deportation and are, as they shouted at the border crossing, “Undocumented, Unafraid!”
In love and solidarity,
Scott Nicholson, a member of University Congregational UCC, in Missoula, Montana, serves as a volunteer with the Hogar de Esperanza y Paz (Home of Hope and Peace) community center in Nogales, Mexico.