8/7 Tucson, AZ: 'Dream 9' released from immigration detention
'Dream 9' released from immigration detention
By Cindy Carcamo
August 7, 2013
TUCSON — Young immigrants known as the “Dream 9” were released Wednesday from federal custody in Arizona, a small step in their bid to win asylum in the United States.
The immigration activists were released on parole, which allows them to return to their American communities until they get the chance to argue for asylum before an immigration judge. The nine were tranferred by bus from the Eloy Detention Center in south-central Arizona to Tucson, where their arrival was welcomed by immigrant rights activists.
“You’re here!” shouted someone in the crowd. Some of the dreamers and their supporters were crying.
The women came off the bus first, dressed in mortar boards and graduation gowns – the same attire they wore when trying to cross the border in July. The men came off next but in street clothes.
Last month, the five women and four men, who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, staged an unconventional and risky protest at the U.S.-Mexico border to spotlight the thousands of people deported under the Obama administration.
When the Dream 9 — named for the Dream Act, which would provide such immigrants a path to legalization — attempted to reenter the U.S. at the Nogales, Ariz., port of entry on July 22, they were arrested. They had been in federal custody since.
On Tuesday, immigration asylum officers found that all nine had credible fear of persecution or torture in their birth country and could therefore not be immediately removed.
Their cases now go to an immigration judge, who will decide whether to grant asylum. The process could take years to litigate, experts said.
Three of the dreamers had crossed into Mexico recently to stage the protest. The six others who joined them had returned to Mexico more than a year ago for various reasons.
One of the six was Maria Peniche, 22, of Boston. She had lived the past year in Mexico City.
Peniche came to the United States when she was 10 and overstayed her visa. She said she was relieved to be out of detention and grateful to be back in the United States.
Contrasting Mexico City with the U.S., she said, “It’s amazing. I feel like I have so much freedom here. I can be myself and not be afraid.”
Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times
Dream Nine immigration activists freed
Group who came to US illegally as children left country and re-entered in protest over exclusions from new citizenship laws
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- theguardian.com, Wednesday 7 August 2013 23.16 EDT
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The border at Nogales where the Dream Nine were arrested on trying to re-enter the US. Photograph: Jae C Hong/AP
A group of young immigration reform activists known as the "Dream Nine" has been released from federal custody after spearheading a campaign against mass deportation.
The five men and four women emerged late on Wednesday from the Eloy detention centre in Arizona, where they were held for two weeks after entering the US from Mexico.
They were let out on parole and allowed to return home pending an immigration judge's decision on their asylum claim, a ruling that could take years.
"I am good, very excited. It's a big surprise," Maria Peniche, 22, one of the nine activists, told the Associated Press. "This opens a path for other Dreamers in Mexico," she said, using the term for young undocumented people who hope to qualify for citizenship under the Dream act.
A crowd of supporters gave a hero's welcome, cheering, crying and declaring victory, when the group emerged from a bus at Tuscon. The nine held a banner saying: "We're home."
Their incarceration spawned the Twitter hashtag #BringThemHome and a Facebook page by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance.
The nine were brought to the US illegally as children and in theory would qualify for a path to citizenship.
However they objected to the exclusion of their parents from citizenship and the deportation of hundreds of thousands of undocumented people during Barack Obama's administration, a sharp increase from the Bush era.
To pressure Congress for change they made a risky protest: some crossed into Mexico – in some cases for the first time since childhood – and notified authorities about their attempted re-entry at the Nogales border point on 22 July. Six others who had returned to Mexico earlier joined them for the crossing. All were arrested, some wearing university gowns and mortar boards.
The case presented an awkward dilemma for the Obama administration, which has chided Republicans for blocking immigration reform. Earlier this week the department of homeland security provisionally approved asylum requests on grounds the nine had "credible fear" of persecution if sent back to Mexico.==============================================================================
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