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Latino Daily News

Tuesday August 6, 2013

Immigrant Advocates Plead to President for Release of DREAM 9 Members

The mother, teachers and classmates of Lulu Martinez on Monday asked President Barack Obama for her immediate release along with the eight other immigration activists being detained in Arizona, known collectively as the DREAM 9.

“Let the community rise up because my daughter doesn’t deserve to be isolated in a cell, harassed and intimidated by the guards. It’s not fair for a girl,” Maria Martinez told Efe, struggling to hold back tears.

The Corrections Corporation of America, which administers the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona, say Lulu was punished with 15 days solitary confinement because she harangued the other detainees with chants and shouts of “Freedom.”

In an event held at the Latino Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the students covered the wall with colored paper butterflies on which could be read “Bring Lulu Home.”

Later, teachers and classmates of the 23-year-old released a letter in which they said that Lulu, who was brought to the United States from Mexico at age 3, is “an exemplary, talented and hard-working student ... (who) deserves a bright future.”

The activists entered the United States from Mexico on July 22 at the Port of Entry in Nogales and requested humanitarian parole as “DREAMers” - named after 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.

Some of them had been deported, others returned to Mexico voluntarily and three decided to go visit family members after being approved for Deferred Action, which offers a reprieve from deportation and a work permit, but does not allow the migrant to leave the United States and return.

The nine, who admit that they carried out an act of civil disobedience to test the program for the first time, asked that they be released for humanitarian reasons or given political asylum.