As CL's Blaire Yancy writes in another post published today, there is a major demonstration for comprehensive immigration reform scheduled for this Sunday in Washington D.C., and at an event last night on the Tampa campus of USF, organizers were busy recruiting as many people as possible to travel from Tampa for the weekend's activities.
They did that before and after a 90 minute forum was held with a host of speakers discussing the need for such reform, as well as the need for the enactment of the DREAM Act (which stands for Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act), federal legislation that has been discussed for nearly a decade in Congress, but never enacted.
The legislation would allow undocumented immigrant students who are of good moral character, arrived in the states as a minor, and been in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment, the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency. Essentially it would provide an opportunity for those students to enlist in the military or go to college and have a path to citizenship which they otherwise would not have without.
Last night the one hundred or so people in attendance at the Oval Theatre in the Marshall Center heard from St. Petersburg immigration attorney Arturo Rios, who said that those immigrants who go before an immigration judge these days, 81% end up being deported. He said that currently, enforcement has been heightened by the federal government, and said right now there are more ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents in the country working than FBI agents.