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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. ” – César Chávez, UFW

DREAM Advocates Pressure Florida Senator at GOP Board Meeting

Students and Allies Pledge to Follow Senator LeMieux until He Votes YES on the DREAM Act

Dec. 11, 2010

WHAT: DREAM Act students rally at Florida Republican Party Quarterly Board Meeting
WHEN: Today December 11, 2010, at 5pm
WHO: Florida DREAM Act Students and Allies
WHERE: Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek,
14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane, Orlando, Florida 32821

Orlando, FL – Today, Saturday December 11 at 5pm, DREAM Act students and allies will rally at the Florida Republican Party Quarterly Board Meeting taken place at the Hilton Orland Bonnet Creek, where Florida Senator George LeMieux is scheduled to speak.

For months, thousands of undocumented students from Florida have actively lobbied Senator LeMieux to support the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act - known as the DREAM Act. This legislation would legalize undocumented students who were brought to the United States before they were 16 years old, have never committed a crime and, among other requirements, received a college degree or joined the U.S. Armed Forces.

Supporters of the historic DREAM Act say they don’t want Sen. LeMieux to go anywhere this weekend without confronting his constituents who want him to vote “Yes.”

“The Latino and immigrant community in Florida make up a very large sector in our state,” said Jessica Sanchez from Students Working for Equal Rights and main organizer of today’s rally. “We expect Senator LeMieux to cast his vote based on what the majority of his constituencies in Florida want as well as for what’s best for our nation, and that is to vote yes on the DREAM Act.”

Last Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the DREAM Act with a historic bipartisan vote. We expect the Senate to vote on the DREAM Act next week, a vote that will clearly define the commitment of each Senator, including Senator LeMieux, to strengthen the nation and support the Latino and immigrant community.

“Every major faith leader in Florida, including Archbishop Thomas Wenski and leaders from the Christian Family Coalition, has implored Senator LeMieux to support the DREAM Act,” explained Felipe Matos, a 24-year-old undocumented student from the Trail of DREAMs and Presente.org, who arrived to the United States at the age of 14. “Every major college and University in Florida, a variety of businesses and leaders throughout our state have all told Senator LeMieux he needs to vote yes on DREAM.”

The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that “enacting the bill would reduce deficits by about $2.2 billion over the 2011-2020 period. Moreover, the 2010 study by the UCLA North American Integration and Development Center estimates that the total earnings of DREAM Act beneficiaries over the course of their working lives would be between $1.4 trillion and $3.6 trillion.

For more than a decade, advocates across the country have advocated for the DREAM Act. Throughout this year, DREAMers have mobilized hundreds of thousands in support of the legislation by lobbying in Washington, DC and organizing peaceful civil disobedience actions throughout the country.

“Last Thursday, we made more than 77,000 calls to urge Senators to vote yes on DREAM; many of those call targeted Senator LeMieux,” explained Matos. “We will no longer accept political maneuvers from anyone, regardless of their political party. We expect Senator George LeMieux to follow his conscience to vote Yes on DREAM,” concluded Matos.