June 26, 2010, 8:00pm–New York City–A vigil of hope will be held on Saturday, June 26th at the corner of 43rd Street and Seventh Avenue. The cause is to bring awareness of “The Dream Act”. The Dream Act is a piece of bipartisan legislation pioneered by Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL). This legislation would allow qualifying, undocumented young people eligibility to be put on the path of United States citizenship. Details of this stricktly-provisioned legislation include a six-year conditional path that would require the completion of a college degree and/or two years of service in The United States military.
Each year, more than three million students graduate from U.S. high schools. For the majority of these students, they leave high school looking forward to creating lives for themselves, and living The American Dream. Many graduating students have options including college, employment or raising families. There are, however a group of approximately 65,000 young people who are not afforded these same opportunities; a group that is known not by their accomplishments, but whose accomplishments are smeared by the title they are labeled with…”Illegal Immigrant”.
Regardless of their origin of birth, thousands of “Illegal Immigrants” came to The United States as children and have spent most of their lives living in this country. These students have been educated by the American educational system, have learned the American customs and love this country as much as any student having the privilege of being born a U.S. citizen. Can we pretend that these students are anything but what they truly are….Americans?
Chisled on the base of the Statue of Liberty is a famous poem by Emma Lazarus which includes the lines “Give me your tired, your poor, your
huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” These students yearn for just that… freedom. Freedom is an entitlement given to all American-born citizens and a gift to all who immigrate to this country. But this country has seems to have forgotten about those famous lines. Today, the phrase “No vacancies” echos within the halls of a congress unwilling to do the right thing. For too long, the ambitions of greedy politicians have halted the progress of fair immigration reform. The Dream Act offers these students the opportunity to attain the freedom they so desperately deserve.
The candle-lit vigil will begin at 43rd Street and end at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Banner-carrying participants will be walking for freedom, they’ll be walking in honor of their loved ones that they have been unable to see and they’ll be walking to honor the memories of those who perished in their pursuit of the American Dream. Join us at 8:00pm and light a candle in support of an undocumented citizen who seeks to live the American Dream, to pay taxes and to be free. The DREAM Act is a piece of legislation whose time is long overdue. Come support us and help make The Dream Act a dream come true.