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Eduardo Barraza

Eduardo Barraza

Posted: December 3, 2010 08:39 AM

Tempe, Arizona -- A coalition of Arizona State University students and activists rallied Tuesday in support of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act.

If approved, the proposed legislation would allow thousands of undocumented students in the country to legalize their status, enter the workforce and apply for federal student aid.

The students and advocates demonstrated in front of the Memorial Union building in the Tempe Campus, where they held signs, chanted and talked to other students in an effort to educate them about the DREAM Act, and persuade politicians to approve it.

The rally also sought to create awareness on the campus and encourage supporters to call senators to ask them to vote in favor of the DREAM Act. Similar actions have been taking place in other major cities in the U.S.

Students have also been traveling to Washington, D.C. to make their voices heard in a time they deem pivotal to get the bill passed.

A new series of hunger strikes was also announced during a press conference held in the Memorial Union building. The strike will be among other actions aimed to call the attention of politicians like Senator John McCain.

"We have an entire generation of students who were brought here (to the U.S) without a choice," said student Debbie Robles, 18, a Chicano Studies major at ASU was among those who participated in Tuesday's rally.

Robles believes the DREAM Act would allow undocumented students to give back to the country since they have been educated in the United States and hold college degrees.

Carmen Cornejo, a long-time advocate for the DREAM Act who also participated in the rally, stated the United States would benefit from legalizing this cohort of undocumented students, since they have degrees and fields related to science engineering, technology and mathematics.

"These are key fields needed for the future of this nation," said Cornejo, a member of the advocacy group CADENA.

In Texas, a number of students have been on a hunger strike for three weeks. Dreamactivist.org, a social media site that promotes the passage of the DREAM Act, reports some students met at Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's office in San Antonio after a rally. The group was seeking the senator's support for the DREAM Act but reportedly they were arrested.

Fox 29 News reported San Antonio Police Department arrested 16 University of Texas at San Antonio's students Monday when they refused to leave Bailey's office.

Students and advocates agree the DREAM Act currently has one of its best chances of being passed. However, the bill has been repeatedly defeated.

Cornejo blames this to several factors, including educational and political.

"There are not enough educated people about the DREAM Act, and people in Congress are being driven by politics, not by rationality or the imperative need of the passage of this legislation."