Photo: Pedro Gutierrez
News about one of the lucky 900 this week: Pedro Gutierrez, a 22-year old Arizonan, has been granted a one-year stay of deportation, thanks to the work of DREAM activists and DREAM Act supporters all over the nation.
Pedro, an orphan whose grandmother brought him to the United States when he was just seven years old, has long wished to serve the only country he’s ever known by joining the Marines. However, without immigration papers, all he had to count on was the DREAM Act—which lawmakers in Washington were unable to pass late last year.
In 2009, he was arrested for driving without a license, and jailed for a month while officials considered his case. He was due to be deported January of this year, but a massive mobilization of support helped him gain a 30-day stay, followed now by a year-long stay.
It took 10,000 faxes, coverage from countless organizations and news outlets, a justice rally, and the support of military recruiters and officers who thought he was the “perfect candidate.”
And still, Pedro is only granted one more year in the United States—one more year of desperately hoping for the DREAM Act that would put him on the road to citizenship and give him a shot with the Marines. But for every DREAMer whose story makes it to the press, hundreds are quietly deported every year.
As Pedro recognizes, whether he and his fellow DREAMers have a future in the US may ultimately come down to direct action from the White House:
I now realize that the only way for me to be able to stay in Arizona, my home, is for President Obama to allow for me to stay. It is his choice whether I am deported to a country I do not know or if I am allowed to stay in Arizona and give back to my community. I ask President Obama to please let me serve this nation.