Democracy Now!

DREAM Act

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  • In Vermont, two immigrant rights activists have returned home after being jailed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in what local organizers say was an act of political retaliation.

  • President Trump said he would "show great heart" when considering whether to deport recipients of DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. So why is Daniel Ramirez Medina sitting in jail? We look at the case of a 23-year-old father who was detained by ICE one week ago in Des Moines, Washington, even though he has permission to live and work in the United States under DACA. His supporters have maintained a vigil at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, where he is being held. It’s a private detention center owned by the for-profit prison company GEO Group. We go to Seattle, Washington, to speak with Councilmember Lorena González, a civil rights attorney who is the city’s first Latino councilmember.

  • A newly revealed memo from President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team sheds light on his plans to reverse immigration policies put in place by the Obama administration, and asks for data on recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This comes as more than 100 members of Congress sent a letter to Obama in December asking him to take action to protect their names and private information. "We all asked these young people to come forward, willingly and voluntarily, and guaranteed them that the information about themselves, and, more importantly, their parents and relatives in this country that might or might not be undocumented, would be protected," says our guest Rep. Raúl Grijalva, Democrat of Arizona and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. We also speak with Cesar Zamudio, a freshman at Columbia University who is an undocumented immigrant and a recipient of DACA.

  • There is growing resistance to Trump’s vow to detain and deport millions of people from the United States. Mayors from New York to Chicago to Seattle say they will refuse to cooperate even as Trump promises to cut funds from so-called sanctuary cities. Meanwhile, the movement is growing for "sanctuary campuses." During his campaign, Trump also said he would reverse President Obama’s executive orders, including DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which has shielded 750,000 young people from deportation. We are joined by Denise Vivar, a member of the first undocumented student club at the City University of New York, or CUNY. She drafted the petition for Lehman College to be a sanctuary campus. We also go to Philadelphia to speak with Olivia Vazquez, a recipient of DACA and a youth organizer at the immigrant rights group Juntos, and with Miguel Andrade, an immigration paralegal who has been working with the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office to declare Philadelphia a sanctuary city, or Fourth Amendment city.

  • The New York State Senate has rejected a bill that would have provided tuition assistance to undocumented immigrant college students. The defeated bill, known as the DREAM Act, would affect some 8,000 college-age immigrants who were brought to this country as children by their parents. Last night, students protested the vote in New York City. Some of them were upset at Democratic State Senator Jeff Klein of the Bronx for bringing the bill to a vote before he had the necessary support.

  • Earlier this week, more than 30 undocumented youth who lived in the United States as children, as well as three of their parents, were held by authorities after they attempted to re-enter the United States from Mexico at the crossing in Laredo, Texas. It is the second time in three months that undocumented immigrants have attempted to re-enter the United States through an official point of entry in an act of protest. On Monday, the activists marched across a bridge connecting Mexico to the United States wearing graduation caps and gowns, chanting "Undocumented and unafraid." We speak to two of the people released, Javier Cortés and his father, Javier Calderón, who are from Michoacán, Mexico. Cortés has lived in the United States since his family came here when he was three years old. They left the United States to visit an ailing family member in Mexico, knowing re-entering the country would be difficult.

  • Tens of thousands of immigrants from around the country joined allies from the labor movement and beyond to "Rally for Citizenship" Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The demonstrators urged Congress to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws and provide a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented residents. Among those who came to push for reform were farm workers from California and house cleaners from Alabama. They were joined by youth activists brought to the country by their parents, only to struggle to attend college or find work after graduating from high school because of their undocumented status. We hear from some of the voices to address the rally: 17-year-old DREAM activist Katherine Tabares of New York; NAACP President Benjamin Jealous; and Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, one of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" senators drafting a joint immigration bill. [includes rush transcript]

  • While much attention was fixed on the presidential race, the 2012 election also saw voters decide on a series of landmark ballot initiatives at the state level. Advocates of marriage equality ended Tuesday with four out of four victories, as voters legalized same-sex marriage in Maine and Maryland, upheld same-sex marriage in Washington state, and defeated a measure to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota. Maryland voters also affirmed the DREAM Act, allowing undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition. In Montana, voters overwhelmingly approved a measure that would limit corporate spending on elections, while Colorado voters also resoundingly approved a measure backing a constitutional amendment that would call for the same. In a historic move, voters in Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana for recreational use, becoming the first states to do so. In California, voters defeated a ballot measure to repeal the death penalty and another that would have required labeling of genetically modified foods. A separate measure to ease penalties for nonviolent offenses under California’s "three-strikes" law was approved. California voters also rejected a measure that would have curbed the political influence of unions. We’re joined by three guests: Justine Sarver, executive director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center; NAACP President Ben Jealous; and broadcaster and author Laura Flanders. [includes rush transcript]

  • By Amy Goodman with Denis Moynihan
    Convention was gaveled into session Tuesday, outside in the rain, in the paramilitarized heart of Charlotte, democracy in its finest form found expression.

  • Tens of thousands of young undocumented immigrants waited in mile-long lines across the country on Wednesday to take advantage of a new federal policy that may grant them legal status to temporarily remain and work in the United States. Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, immigrants under 31, including students who are enrolled in school on the day they apply, will now be eligible for a two-year reprieve from deportation if they demonstrate that they came to the United States before their 16th birthday, lived in the United States for the past five years, have not been convicted of certain crimes, and do not pose a national security threat. As the policy went into effect, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona issued an executive order barring immigrants who are granted a reprieve from receiving public benefits or getting drivers’ licenses. She also instructed state agencies to make sure only legal residents access taxpayer-financed benefits. We go to Phoenix to speak with journalist and organizer Roberto Lovato. [includes rush transcript]

  • In a Democracy Now! exclusive, we’re joined by DREAM activist Viridiana Martinez, who calls us live from a detention center in Pompano Beach, Florida. Martinez is one of a group of undocumented activists with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance who have infiltrated the Broward Transitional Center and found dozens of immigrants who should be released under Obama’s discretionary guidelines. A review of cases to remove low-priority deportations, such as those involving immigrants with no criminal records and strong family ties, has so far stopped less than 2 percent of removals. Click here to listen to a longer interview with Martinez conducted by Democracy Now!’s Renée Feltz. [includes rush transcript]

  • In a Democracy Now! exclusive, we speak with Viridiana Martinez, an undocumented DREAM activist who is being detained in the Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach, Florida. [includes rush transcript]

  • By Amy Goodman with Denis Moynihan

    Undocumented immigrants in the United States number around 12 million people, a group larger than the populations of most countries on the planet.

  • In a major policy move, the Obama administration has halted the deportations of some undocumented youth. Under the administration’s plan, immigrants who meet certain requirements will not be deported if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30. We speak with one of the key lawmakers dealing with immigration reform today: Democratic Rep. Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois, who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Immigration Task Force. [includes rush transcript]

  • President Obama’s executive order on deportations follows years of struggle by DREAM Act supporters who have braved the threat of deportation to fight for the rights of undocumented youth. We’re joined by two guests who have taken that risk head on: Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who famously came out as an undocumented American in the pages of the New York Times, and DREAM Act activist Lorella Praeli, who came to the United States from Peru with her family to receive medical treatment as a young child. [includes rush transcript]

  • As Georgia votes in its Super Tuesday primary, the State Senate has voted to ban undocumented immigrant students from all public universities. Undocumented students from Georgia are already barred from the state’s five most competitive schools and must pay out-of-state tuition at other state schools. "Telling us that we cannot obtain higher education, that we cannot go to college or community college, even if we work hard and do our best in school, it is crushing dreams, it is crushing goals," says Keish Kim, an undocumented student from South Korea who now attends Freedom University, an ad hoc underground school in Athens, Georgia, where university professors volunteer to teach undocumented students kept out of public classrooms. We also speak with Azadeh Shahshahani, director of the National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project at the ACLU of Georgia. [includes rush transcript]

  • This week, thousands of immigrants and their allies protested outside the White House, denouncing the Obama administration for deporting more than one million immigrants in the last two years. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Democrat from Illinois, was among the dozens of protesters arrested on Tuesday for peacefully occupying the White House sidewalk. He participated in the act of nonviolent civil disobedience one day after he received a letter from President Obama rejecting his proposal to suspend deportations of undocumented college students with clean criminal records. "I thought that for one moment, I should have my hands clasped together with handcuffs and taken away a short period of time, to bring attention and to say, I denounce [Obama’s immigration] policies as immoral," Gutierrez says. "Right now the Republicans are leading, in their anti-immigrant, obviously xenophobic march both in the House and in the Senate. And you know what? With the same energy and vigor that they lead against us with hatred and bigotry, we want [Obama] to stand up with that same energy for us." [includes rush transcript]

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