Advocates show support for Dream Act at summit
The decade-long battle for the passage of the Dream Act united students, advocates and families at the third annual “Dream Act Summit” on Saturday at the HCC East Campus.
Immigrant Families and Students in the Struggle or FIEL, an organization based and founded at UH with members from various colleges throughout the state, hosted the summit.
“This doesn’t just affect Latinos, it affects the immigrant community in general,” Abraham Espinoza, a campaign coordinator for FIEL, said. “I think that the immigrant community in general needs to unite. The Hispanic community at times is united but also stands divided. If we were to unite, especially the youth, with other ethnicities we can make a really powerful movement.”
The summit included workshops, access to free legal counsel and information on financial aid to undocumented students. Parents who were in attendance were treated to a specific workshop on guiding and assisting their child as they prepare to enter or continue college.
District 143 Representative Ana Hernandez Luna made an appearance and applauded the effort and cause of the event. Luna being born in Reynosa, Mexico, shared her experiences of acclimating to America.
Dreamers, or students eligible to apply for the Dream Act, also shared their experiences and recalled the fear of living day to day with the uncertainty of being questioned or asked about their legal status.
One of the speakers, Mauro Arboleda, is a UH alumnus. Arboleda was detained for a week after being picked up by an ICE agent this year and has since been granted deferred action. Although this does not grant him a pathway to citizenship, he is no longer facing the threat of being deported.
“I want to thank everyone for their support,” Arboleda said. “I thought that I was alone, but thanks to organizations like United we Dream and FIEL, I’ve learned that there are a lot of us. They helped me stay home.”
Attendees were told to spread the message, that they are not alone and to understand their rights.
“We met our goal,” Caesar Espinoza, a senior majoring in political science at UH, said. “We want to take what we did today and make it bigger next year.
“There is a lot help out there for them — such as FIEL Houston, or national organizations like United We Dream. There is also Neighborhood Centers, which is one of our partners,” Espinoza said. “There are numerous resources they just need to find them, we’re here to help them do so.”
For more information, FIEL will hold a meeting this Thursday with further details to be announced on their website, www.fielhouston.org