Senator LeMieux won't back DREAM ACT for undocumented students

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The protest was organized by Student Working for Equal Rights (SWER) in tandem with Youth for Change.


According to the organizers, the two bills will lend a helping hand to students who came to the U.S. before reaching the age of 16 and have been living for five years and graduated from high schools with good grades.


Sanchez, of Mexican descent, said the protesters wanted to get a clear-cut answer from Florida’s junior Senator about the proposals after the senator’s back-and-forth reluctance to give his opinion.


“Now we educated him about the act and then now he said he would not support because it’s a small bill and would not fix all immigration problems,” she said.


Today’s protest is a follow-up of actions the students have done with the Senator for nudging to support the DREAM Act and AgJOBS.


“We are here for undocumented students and farmer workers who are struggling everyday and we need him co-sponsor the Dream Act and AgJOBS,” USF student Sanchez said.


Hidalg, a student, said her paramount aim was to know where the Senator’s stood on the act.


“We have came several times and got only a sort of around about answer, and we want an answer whether he will support the Dream Act and AgJOBS or not,” Hidalg said. “He was unable to give an answer  several times when we came here.”


After learning of the Senator’s rejection of the Dream Act, the protesters switched their goals.


“Now we want him to come publicity and come out to media saying:[ he would not support the Dream Act and AgJOBS”, organizer Sanchez said.


“You need it to hear from him, not from me.”


Later in the day, Senator LeMieux's office released this statement:


“The senator believes children should not have to pay for the transgressions of their parents. But at the same time, we have to be careful any change in federal law doesn’t have the unintended consequence of incentivizing additional illegal immigration,” according to the e-mail statement.

By Mohamed Othman

Miffed Hispanic students staged a protest on Wednesday in the front of the Tampa district office of US Florida Senator George LeMieux to have him throw his weight behind the DREAM Act and AgJOBS, two proposals aiming to help undocumented students to get better education and financial aids.

After a one-hour protest in the front of LeMieux’s office, they got the answer: “The Senator could not support the proposals; he is thinking about a comprehensive plan.”

“Senator LeMieux would not co-sponsor support the Dream Act because it is a piece of meal and he is waiting for something bigger than this and more on comprehensive immigration reform,” USF student Jessica Sanchez, 24, the organizer of the protest, said after getting a reply from LeMieux’s office.

She said Sen. LeMieux’s office attributed the much-awaited decision to little benefit the two bills would yield, but comprehensive immigration reform on the other hand will cover more people.

Mayra Hidalg, one of protesters, played down the benefits of comprehensive immigration reform as it does not provide better ways to help immigrants.

“DREAM Act targets students, professionals and potential military officials and targets people who are going to contribute to our country and people who want to be here,” she said. “It’s very simple and straightforward.”

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