Dreamers get ready for national convention

Alejandra Ruiz of United We Dream (Photo: LC Archives)

Cesar Arredondo

More than 500 Dreamers from across the nation are expected to attend the next United We Dream National Congress in Kansas City to celebrate Deferred Action.

The event plans to celebrate and energize the Dreamers immigration movement, welcome new leaders, honor leadership transitions, train participants in movement building and organizing, and launch a collective advocacy and organizing plan of action for 2013, according to organizers.

United We Dream is a U.S. network of youth-led immigrant organizations that advocate for access to higher education for undocumented students. Network members in the Golden State include the California DREAM Network, the Orange County DREAM Team, the DREAM Team L.A., IDEAS at UCLA, and the  National Korean American Service & Education Consortium.

The fourth annual event will take place Nov. 30 through Dec. 2,  just weeks after President Obama’s reelection  and a few months after he issued the presidential directive known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, that grants many young undocumented immigrants temporary legal status.

While jobs and the economy were top concerns for Latinos and Americans in general during the presidential election, immigration reform was also a high priority issue for Latino voters, whose overwhelming majority supported Obama.

“This presidential election was a historic one for immigrant rights community,” says New York-based Alejandra Ruiz, development manager of United We Dream, in a e-mail. “Energized by the passage of deferred action, Dreamers led voter mobilization efforts in key states across the country through the “I am a Dream Voter” Campaign.”

The congress will mark “one of the most important milestones” for the immigrant youth movement, according to Ruiz. “After years of organizing, coordinating national actions, and sharing our stories, immigrant youth leaders are coming together to celebrate the first major immigration policy victory in the 21st century: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA),” she says.

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