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Annual DREAM Graduation Affected by New Immigration Policy

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At the Lutheran Church of Reformation on Tuesday, Dream Activist held its annual mock graduation.  Much of the ceremony proceeded with undocumented youth dressed in caps and gowns and a group of  speakers telling their stories, proclaiming “I’m undocumented and unafraid!” But there was certainly a change of atmosphere this year due to Obama’s recent change in immigration policy, which will halt the deportation of undocumented immigrants ages 15-30 if they are in school or have graduated from school, and have not broken any laws.

Here are some quotes from speakers and DREAMers at the event yesterday:

“This isn’t the end, it’s only the beginning.”

“We feel like our voices our getting heard, but we need a permanent solution.”

“I want to celebrate the DREAM Act getting passed while I’m still alive”

“{Obama’s new policy} is a big step, but it can’t end there.”

Obama’s new policy has given many DREAMers new hope, and has motivated them to keep on their push for the DREAM Act. With immigration getting a lot of attention in the media before the upcoming 2012 presidential elections, there has been much room and opportunity for DREAMers to speak up and to get the public to listen — and they’re doing a pretty stellar job.

Many also expressed the need for a long-term solution — such as comprehensive immigration reform. From the New York Times:

Michael Wilker, the pastor of the church where the graduation took place, said he has had parishioners at other churches in California and Long Island who also didn’t have an opportunity to become full participating citizens in this nation. “To see them here today breaks my heart because I’m so sad that our country is so unjust and unfair to them,” he said as his voice cracked with emotion.

He said the Supreme Court ruling is another reason the country needs fair and comprehensive immigration reform, and added that Mr. Obama’s deferment action has set a clock going, but has not served any long-term issues.

“We have two years that he’s granted some of these dreamers,” Mr. Wilker said. “But we’ve got to get this thing sorted out.”

Watch these videos from the event: