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Undocumented Youths Advocate for DREAM Act Ahead of Elections

Undocumented youths across the country are seeking to bring attention to Congressional candidates who oppose the DREAM Act. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

The DRM Action Coalition hosted a conference call this week where young undocumented activists announced the candidates they wish to bring attention to for their opposition to the DREAM Act. In 2010, the House of Representatives passed the original DREAM Act, but the bill was filibustered in the Senate. Now, ahead of the upcoming election, young DREAMers are speaking out.

Erika Andiola, of the DRM Action Coalition says that they’re fighting for the DREAM Act because millions of young students would be affected.

The DREAM Act which stands for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, was first introduced in the US Senate in 2001. The act would grant residency to illegal residents in good academic standing after graduating high school, completing at least two years at a four-year college, or time spent in the US Military.

The immigrant youths are calling on Congressional candidates in seven states, including Republican candidate Linda McMahon who is running in Connecticut, and incumbent US Senator Scott Brown of  Massachusetts, to hear their voices ahead of the election. They say that through their stories and demonstrations, they hope to communicate their message.

Sergiu Voicila of Dream Action Boston, who has lived in the US for nine years and first became undocumented four years ago,  says he’s taking his message of support for the DREAM Act to Scott Brown.

Voicila said that Brown’s campaign is significant because the attention it’s drawing on the national level.

Brown’s campaign did not return a call for comment in time for broadcast.

Eva Millona, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, or MIRA, says that though undocumented youths cannot vote in the November elections, their message can be heard by their friends and relatives.

Millona said that MIRA does support President Obama’s deferred-deportation plan for illegals that came to the US as children. She said that the coalition is working with other groups to inform citizens of their right to vote and become engaged in immigration issues.

A spokesman for US Senate Candidate Linda McMahon also did not return a call in time for broadcast.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.