UPDATE, Sept. 23: The National Youth Alliance (NIYA) announced Monday that 30 Dreamers, living in Mexico and other countries, will partake in its new “#BringThemHome” campaign set to commence Sept. 30. The immigrant rights organization says the participants of the international protest will present themselves at a port of entry dressed in caps in gowns — a similar picture from the July Dream 9 protest.
The so-called Dream 9 were granted asylum hearings and were released after being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border — immigration advocates called it a victory.
Now, National Immigrant Youth Alliance is seeking a new group of youths, who were deported or left the U.S., in efforts to recreate the international protest that led to those nine Dreamers being granted temporary permission to return to the U.S.
NIYA posted the following call-out its Facebook page on Sept. 8:
On July 22nd, working with 6 Dreamers, we were able to organize with our community and force the Obama administration to let them come home. We are now looking for others, who were either forced to leave America or were deported, and who want to now come home.
If you want to come home and you are a Dreamer (came to the U.S. before the age of 16) then please contact us and let’s see what we can do.
The original Dream 9 group was made up of six unauthorized immigrants who would have qualified for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program but returned to Mexico before the directive was set into place. Three other Dreamers self-deported and joined them in Mexico.
The protest dubbed “Bring Them Home”, led by NIYA, was an effort to challenge the Obama administration to move forward on immigration policy, including deportation proceedings.
After two weeks in ICE custody — and solitary confinement for some — the nine Dreamers were released in Tucson, Ariz., after passing a credible fear interview. It was the first step in their asylum hearings. (And are still awaiting further steps.)
Lizbeth Mateo, an immigration activist and Cal State University Northridge alumna, was part of the Dream 9. She self-deported a few days before the protest began.
She told Fronteras Desk about the risk she faced when crossing the border and appearing before immigration officials.
“I was already at risk. Being undocumented for so long, I was already at risk of being picked up,” Mateo said.
An application was attached to NIYA’s Facebook announcement.