Detroit DREAMers sit in

June 20, 2012

A PROTEST and sit-in led by undocumented immigrant activists shut down the metro Detroit headquarters of President Obama's re-election campaign on June 14.

The demonstrators, who are part of a nationwide effort targeting Obama's campaign offices, demanded that the president's office issue an executive order to cease deporting immigrant youth eligible for citizenship under the provisions set by the DREAM Act.

The protest came a day before Obama made his announcement that he will issue an executive order allowing some undocumented immigrants to request a deferral of their deportation. The president's announcement has drawn skepticism from several leaders of the undocumented youth movement.

Twenty-four-year old Jose Franco is a co-founder of One Michigan, the group that led the sit-in at Obama's metro Detroit office. He told the Huffington Post that he was skeptical of the announcement "because the president has made similar announcements about protecting undocumented youth in the past, and they haven't been implemented."

Likewise, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) stated in a press release that they recognize "this announcement comes a year after a similar announcement for discretion," which has yet to be implemented.

"We will not accept the announcement at its word," NIYA continued. "Prosecutorial discretion turned out to be ineffectual, and essentially a broken promise. We will review the announcement and will not back adown until we are certain the commitment is firm."

The Obama administration has been an aggressive enforcer of immigration policy. The annual rate of deportations has increased to over 400,000 a year since Obama's inauguration--almost double the rate under George W. Bush. Over 1.1 million immigrants have been deported since 2008, the most deportations by any president since the 1950s, according to the New York Times.

Furthermore, the DREAM Act, which would guarantee undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship provided they meet certain criteria, was voted down in the Senate in 2010 when five Democrats voted against it, even though Obama said he supported the bill, and the Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress.

Supporters are still asked to sign a petition demanding that President Obama issue an executive order ending the deportation of DREAM-eligible immigrants.

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