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Undocumented youth stand up, fight back

By staff |
December 5, 2012
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Students and youth attended the United We Dream National Congress.
Students and youth attended the United We Dream National Congress. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Kansas City, MO - 600 students and youth attended the United We Dream National Congress here, the weekend of Nov. 30. These young leaders gathered to decide the direction that the immigrant youth movement will take in the wake of the 2012 U.S. elections. United We Dream (UND) is the largest national network of immigrant youth organizations, with 47 affiliates and thousands of members across the country.

The general consensus was loud and clear – now is the time to fight for a total overhaul of the U.S. immigration system.

Undocumented youth spoke passionately about the separation of their families as a result of deportation, the denial of a college education because they cannot receive in-state tuition or financial aid, the super-exploitation their parents face as undocumented workers, and the constant fear of being arrested for driving without a license or of running into a Border Patrol checkpoint.

On Dec. 2, in a truly democratic process, the affiliates of UWD unanimously passed a six-point platform that the immigrant youth movement is going to fight for in the upcoming year. The points included: the right to travel freely - both nationally and to visit family abroad; an end to enforcement programs like Secure Communities and e-verify; the improvement of working conditions for undocumented workers; and access to higher education through in-state tuition and financial aid programs.

The direction for the movement is clear. The immigrant youth are no longer willing to accept stalling and delays by politicians and their corporate backers. It is obvious that the immigrant youth movement will not accept the narrow, short-term solutions offered by the Democrats and Republicans to ‘solve’ the immigration issue. The solution is to be found in the struggle for a completely revamped immigration system. There has to be a system focused on removing the shackles that weigh down more than 11 million immigrants as well as a solution for full equality, in which allows people to contribute to society. Perhaps best summed up in the words of an undocumented Congress participant, “We will not only fight for our rights as students, but for the rights of our entire community.”

The 600 delegates returned to their home communities with this platform in mind and soon will begin organizing around these goals. Support your local DREAMers in their fight for a just immigration system, for legalization, and for full equality.