Tuesday, outside a military recruiting center in Washington D.C., a group of undocumented immigrants arrived and asked to serve in the U.S. military.
This display was to implore legislators to support the DREAM Act by showing that many undocumented immigrants wish to join the U.S. military, but right now, cannot. Some of the demonstrators said they only learned of their undocumented immigrant status a few years, and the way they see it, they are Americans, and they want to serve their country.
“Since (the terrorist attacks against the U.S. in) September 2001…I wanted to serve the country I call my land, my home,” said Mexican-born Cesar Vargas who hopes to join the Marine Corps one day.
Vargas and the other demonstrators spoke with a recruiter in private, as reporters are not allowed inside, but Vargas told the reporters that the recruiter was supportive of their cause and “told us that he knows many immigrants who have a greater sense of patriotism than many Americans born here.”
The DREAM Act is a piece of legislation that presents a path to citizenship to children who entered the U.S. before age 16, lived in the country for a minimum of five years, graduated from high school, served at least two years in the U.S. military or attended two years of college, and had no serious criminal record.
Tuesday’s demonstration was just one of many being held across the country recently. In San Antonio on Monday, 15 DREAM Act supporters were arrested outside the offices of State Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison on day 20 of their hunger strike. Protests and demonstrations have been held in Washington state, California, Illinois, and on college campuses by leaders at M.I.T., Northwestern (Illinois), Harvard, and Brown.