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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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Community and campus protesters aim to inform public, sway representatives

Dale+Mantey+and+his+supporters+protesting+to+show+their+support+for+a+clean+DREAM+act.
Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Dale Mantey and his supporters protesting to show their support for a clean DREAM act.

Looking to build local support for a pathway to legal citizenship for young undocumented residents, student organizations and community members hosted two separate demonstrations the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 8.
Texas A&M’s collegiate chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) hosted a protest in Rudder Plaza at noon in support of a clean DREAM Act, finishing off their three-day, informative campaign DREAMer Week, which aimed to teach people about the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Originally introduced in 2001, the DREAM Act aimed to provide a legal pathway to citizenship for undocumented residents brought to the U.S. as children. Passing some variation of this act has since become a popular legislative goal of immigration reform activists, and the concept of a clean DREAM act has become a part of this broader discussion. According to the National Immigration Law Center, a clean Dream act would provide the pathway to citizenship without including funding for a border wall, interior enforcement or detention centers.
Shortly after 4 p.m. a wider range of protesters gathered outside of Congressman Bill Flores’ office on Briarcrest Drive in an effort to sway Flores to vote for a clean DREAM Act.
“The one on campus was more or less showing support,” political science junior Margarita Zollo said. “This one is more direct because of the fact that Bill Flores, as our congressman and as our representative, has a unique role because he can impact public policy so he has the ability to actually do something about this. People being aware of this issue is awesome, but the whole reason we want that awareness is so people can come talk to their representatives.”
The immigration system is in need of repair, according to Nancy Plankey-Videla, associate professor of sociology and associate head of the sociology department. She said citizens need to support dreamers and eventually work toward immigration reform.
“I’m here to ask Bill Flores to vote for a clean DREAM Act, and what I mean by that is to vote for a path for citizenship for Dreamers, because on March 5, deportations of DACA recipients will begin,” Plankey-Videla said. “The six months will be over from when Trump said the program would be over, so it’s urgent.”
For Dale Mantey, a congressional candidate for Texas’ District 17, the community protest outside of Flores’ office was an opportunity for him to stand alongside voters and speak for a cause he supports.
“One of the people we are protesting today is the incumbent I plan to unseat, Bill Flores,” Mantey said. “We are running. The biggest thing is when you see how many people are here in the middle of the day, think of the people who are standing with us in solidarity that can’t get off work right now. This is just the tip of the iceberg. People are standing up. They are standing up not just for what makes sense but for what is right ethically, morally and logically, and that’s what we’re doing today.”
During the first protest in Rudder Plaza, Jaina Aparicio, English junior, said she wanted to show people that Dreamers have rights.
“We’re here supporting a clean DREAM Act because the current situation with immigration rights now is a disgrace,” Aparicio said. “We think that people like Dreamers and people who come here to make a better life, they deserve to stay here and they deserve to not be separated from their families.”
The campus protest was a chance to stand up for people who are directly affected by immigration policies, according to Robyn Ramirez, political science freshman.
“This demonstration is for the immigrant community and as a person who has friends and family who are a part of the immigrant community, this is for them,” Ramirez said. “They deserve a clean DREAM Act.”

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    Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

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