Outside Arizona Senator John McCain’s Washington D.C. office, six undocumented students staged an all-day sit-in with a plan to get the senator to give a statement in support of the DREAM Act.
Previously, McCain had co-sponsored the act, but when given the opportunity to show his support again on this week, he did no such thing. In fact, he ran away.
In an attempt to avoid the students, McCain tried to slip out a side-door exit, but founding member of United We DREAM, Matias Ramos, said the group only managed a brief exchange with the senator. Even that much interaction was only achieved because the group literally chased McCain down a hallway as he attempted to escape his office through one of its five doors.
According to Ramos, Gaby Pacheco, another activist asked, “We’d like to serve the country. Will you support the DREAM Act and allow us to serve?” To which, the senator allegedly replied, “Good, good, go serve the country then,” before escaping into an elevator.
Despite previous support of the DREAM Act, McCain was instrumental in derailing the DREAM Act in September, when an attempt was made to attach it, and the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, to the defense authorization bill as he was the one leading the Republican obstruction of the proposed amendments, which eventually led to the derailment of the entire DOD bill. In the Senate, McCain called Reid’s move “a blatant message of disrespect to our men and women in uniform.” What made that comment so baffling is the fact that military officials have signed off on a DADT repeal, and the DOD included the DREAM Act in is strategic plan for 2011.
Ramos said that, of the six DREAMers, two have hopes of joining the military, while others wish to become teachers and professors someone, but none of them can legally work because of their immigration status even though they all grew up in the U.S.
In the end, four of the six students who staged the sit-in, risking jail and deportation, were arrested.