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United We DREAM, With National Allies, Launch Nationwide We Own the DREAM / ¡Únete al Sueño! Campaign

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Today was the launch of United We DREAM’s (UWD) national “We Own the DREAM/¡Unete Al Sueño!” campaign. UWD, along with national allies, held a press conference at the American Immigration Lawyers Association to discuss the new guidelines for deferred action and to assist eligible aspiring citizens with the application process.

The campaign will join the resources of UWD, a network of youth-led organizations across the country, and its partners to offer assistance to a significant number of the hundreds of thousands of DREAMers eligible for this opportunity to stay in America to complete their education and contribute to the economy.

DREAMers Diana Villa, Lucia Allain, and Iván Rosales shared their stories of how deferred action will help them achieve their dreams. Villa spoke about finally being able to give DREAMers in high school a concrete reason to stay in school and pursue a college education. Allain addressed the need for DREAMers and allies to reach out their hand and give support to everyone going through the application process. Rosales spoke about his dreams of becoming a doctor and urged parents, teachers, and community members to get involved so that our movement can continue to grow.

Cristina Jimenez, the managing director of UWD, said,

“Since the President’s announcement of this program we have been working around the clock to build a solid and massive infrastructure to ensure that DREAMers and our entire communities have accurate information and trusted assistance to apply for Deferred Action. DREAMers, along with leaders from the labor, faith, and education movements, have come together to deliver this victory to our communities. We are ready to Own the Dream!”

Don Lyster, the D.C. Director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), spoke about the plans of his organization, along with others, to assist in DREAMer relief.

“We are proud to join the United We DREAM Network and other DREAM activists in launching this critical campaign. The National Immigration Law Center, along with our Own the Dream partners at AILA, CLINIC, NIP-NLG and other organizations, are developing a comprehensive strategy, including a centralized website and a toll-free national hotline in multiple languages, to ensure affordable, high quality legal services for as many DREAMers as possible.”

Crystal Williams, the executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, addressed the concerns that many DREAMers have of giving their information to immigration officials.

“This process, while generous, has no appeal and requires that you reveal yourself to the government. So it is important that you get good legal advice from a licensed attorney or accredited representative.”

Bishop Angel Marcial from PICO United Florida gave a beautiful speech in Spanish about the importance of educating the youth because they are our present and our future. He also spoke about how churches should support DREAMer relief to ensure that it and the DREAM Act do not die.

The campaign continues with a Day of Action on August 15th for DREAMers to present the first applications for submission under the new guidelines to the USCIS, and a series of Application Center Events across the nation to assist DREAMers in completing their applications, offering each applicant essential legal advice from attorneys on site and a website to facilitate the application process.

In addition, UWD and its partners will continue their community forums and have more than 20 Application Events on August 25th.

(Photo Credit: Hareth Andrade.)