We’ve all heard about Arizona and the immigration law. What some people might not know is that an event happened in Miami about this same issue. Last Sunday afternoon, dozens of college students laid on the beach and formed giant letters that spelled out a message to one of their senators, George LeMieux (R-FL); the message said “Call LeMieux!”
Most of the students who participated in this were illegal immigrants. One of the students who participated was Miguel Sanchez, 19, who has been here illegally since he was 10. He is from Honduras and worried that public protest would lead immigration agents to locate and deport him. Another student, Guillermo Reyes, also participated. He said, “We just found a wall, an obstacle that we couldn’t overcome.”
Senator Harry Reid (D-FL) announced last week that he would add to an already existing military spending bill an amendment that would open a path for illegal immigrants to become legal citizens. LeMieux has not declared his position regarding this. Why this urgency for change? Illegal immigrants can complete high school without any problems, but when they get to college, they run into problems. They cannot receive financial aid and many pay very expensive out-of-state tuition rates. They also cannot get a driver’s license or any sort of licenses to practice a skill or profession.
If the bill passed, about 726,000 illegal immigrants could immediately become eligible for legal status, according to the Migration Policy Institute. It would also open a path for eventual legal residency for any illegal immigrant who arrived in the country before they were 16, been here for at least 5 years and graduated from high school. “None of us have the idea of the Dream Act not passing even being conceived in our minds,” Reyes said.