Photo: DREAM 9
The young immigration activists known as the DREAM 9 were released from Arizona’s Eloy Detention Center pending consideration of their requests for political asylum.
Their release came a day after the National Immigrant Youth Alliance said U.S. immigration authorities determined that the activists had grounds to fear persecution if they were returned to Mexico.
That decision does not guarantee that they will be granted political asylum, only that now an immigration judge will hear the case and determine if approving the asylum request is warranted.
Upon their arrival in Tucson, the activists said that they will continue fighting for the approval of a comprehensive immigration reform plan that includes the resolution of the immigration status of the 11 million undocumented foreigners living in the United States.
“This is a great victory, thanks to the support of the community today we’re out of the detention center,” Marco Saavedra told Efe.
Another of the DREAM, Lizbeth Mateo, told Efe that being in the detention center was a “very hard experience,” but that they had the chance to talk with and get to know immigrants who have been detained for months.
The activists entered the United States from Mexico on July 22 at the Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona, and requested humanitarian parole as “DREAMers” - so called for the proposed DREAM Act that would legalize undocumented youths who were brought to the country as children - who should never have been deported or forced to leave.
Three of the nine were approved for the Deferred Action program, which offers a reprieve from deportation and a work permit but does not allow the migrant to leave the United States and return.
The other six previously had been deported or had left the country voluntarily after the approval of harsh state immigration laws like Arizona’s SB 1070.