A press conference takes place today with local DREAMers and advocates, 5 p.m. at the John Valenzuela Youth Center, 1550 S. 6th Avenue, South Tucson from ScholarshipsA-Z. It's a chance to welcome President Obama's policy shift, but also a reminder that the local fight continues for Giberto Avila Santos, a DREAMer taken into custody yesterday:
ScholarshipsA-Z welcomes today’s announcement by President Obama to grant temporary relief to DREAM Act beneficiaries as a momentous act of courage and a profoundly important step toward justice for immigrant youth. The announcement comes after two years of organizing and advocacy by DREAMers to ensure that their lives are not put on hold and that their families are not torn apart because of Congress’ failure to act. However, one Tucson family still remains at risk of being divided.
Gilberto Avila Santos, a DREAM Act-eligible student, was detained yesterday, just hours before this announcement, and he fits the criteria for this relief that President Obama explained during his address to the nation this morning. This is a huge opportunity for Arizona to do the right thing, however the Tucson Border Patrol continues to detain Gilberto.
“We must comply with our President's executive order,” said Matt Matera, Executive Director of ScholarshipsA-Z. “Gilberto is not a threat to the community. He meets the requirements for relief and should be released immediately.”
Gilberto Avila Santos is a 21-year old Desert View High School graduate. While driving home from work, he was rear-ended. Police were called by a witness. Gilberto remained at the scene to be responsible. When the Sheriff deputy arrived, Gilberto’s undocumented status was discovered and he was forced to stay outside in the sun for 2 hours until Border Patrol arrived to detain him. He is currently being held at the Tucson Border Patrol station.
Josue Saldivar, Tucson DREAMer says, “We have waited for action like this for many years. We know that this relief is temporary. We will continue to work for policy reform that provides a pathway to citizenship and allows us to fully contribute to this nation. But right now, we need Gilberto, our fellow DREAMer to be released.”
President Obama’s announcement brings relief to many DREAMers, however we must make sure this relief is brought to Gilberto and his family. Gilberto plans on enrolling in college in the Fall 2012 semester. He is DREAM Act-eligible and an asset to our Tucson community.
Clint Smith is a teacher, writer, and doctoral candidate in Education at Harvard University studying incarceration, education,… More