Today Marks 10 Years of Courageous Activism for the DREAM Act

Whatever else can be argued about the DREAM Act, there's no denying the remarkable courage of its proponents--young men and women who face deportation and permanent removal from their home country with each act of civil disobedience.

By Julianne Hing Aug 01, 2011

Ten years ago today the DREAM Act was first introduced in the Senate. The bill seeks to give relief to a narrow group of undocumented immigrant youth who were raised in the country by allowing them a chance to become citizens if they commit two years to college or the military. It has been through numerous revisions as Congress has debated it. It’s been reintroduced every couple of years and at one time it enjoyed broad bipartisan support from Republican and Democratic congresspeople who wanted to extend the benefits of citizenship to young people who are already American in every sense, save for a slip of paper. These days many of the former Republican supporters of the bill have abandoned it for far-right positions on immigration, but the fight for the DREAM Act continues. The bill was reintroduced in the Senate in May by DREAM Act stalwart Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin after narrowly failing a Senate filibuster days after passing the House in a historic vote. Through the decade, there have been countless DREAMers, as undocumented immigrant youth are often called, who’ve fought for the bill and become the public faces of a [movement that’s been built on young people telling their stories]( about the undocumented immigrant youth experience. On July 12, seven undocumented immigrant youth were arrested at San Bernardino Valley College while trying to bring attention to the ongoing difficulties undocumented immigrant youth face while they wait for some relief. Civil disobedience has become one of the major tactics that undocumented immigrant youth have turned to in their fight to raise awareness about both the DREAM Act and anti-immigrant legislation. Every time a DREAMer is arrested, they risk deportation, an often lifelong sentence of removal from the U.S. And so every arrest, every protest, is an act of unique sacrifice and courage. "I participated in this action to eliminate the fear that controls my community, family and friends," Isaac Barrera, a DREAMer who was arrested in July, said in a statement before the action. Here’s to fearlessness, and to the tireless commitment to the long haul. We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to, and be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send. To see other Love posts visit our [Celebrate Love]( page.