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21 May, 2010 00:36

DREAM Act immigration protest shuts down street in Los Angeles

The streets of Los Angeles have been shut down by a DREAM act protest that has dozens of students demanding citizenship for illegal immigrant youth.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM, act is a piece of proposed legislation that would allow children under the age of 16 to gain citizenship in the United States by completing two years of high school, college or military service.

Nine people were arrested at the May 20 protest for blocking traffic, but they have planned other protests and sit-ins for later in the month as part of a continued national campaign.

The protest was an act in solidarity for a Los Angeles native recently arrested at a protest in Arizona.

We're calling on congressional leadership to take action with the DREAM Act as a standalone bill and make it a reality,” said Flavia de la Fuente, a UCLA student and the editor of DREAMActivist.org.

The DREAM Act is important because it gives those who arrive illegally in the US as children options for their future, options they do not currently have.

“The DREAM Act is really about hard work, fairness, education and parents making sacrifices for their children so that way they can have a better life,” said Fuente.

The protest on May 20 took place outside a local federal building and included about 150 members of the community. The activists are targeting government, educational, and congressional leaders in an attempt to make the DREAM Act a reality by June 15.

The Los Angeles protests come as politicians across the United States are taking the hard line on immigrants in an attempt to appeal to voters.

It’s unfortunate that somebody would value their reelection over the futures of thousands of immigrant students in the country,” said Fuente.