DREAM activists participate in national ‘coming out’

Local college students rallied in a national “coming out week” leading to arrests. DREAM Act supporters brought their chant, “Out of the shadows, into the streets,” to life when two student activists, Tania Chairez and

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LUIS FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ TTN Fernanda Marroquin, a member of DreamActivist Pennsylvania, talks to law enforcement officials at the rally.

Local college students rallied in a national “coming out week” leading to arrests.

DREAM Act supporters brought their chant, “Out of the shadows, into the streets,” to life when two student activists, Tania Chairez and Jessica Hyejin Lee, were arrested on March 14.

The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors, or DREAM Act, would allow undocumented citizens brought here as children to have the ability to gain legal citizenship. Although the bill was struck down by the Senate in December 2010, proponents continue to push for its passage.

The demonstration started off with a “Coming Out of the Shadows” rally in Love Park, where undocumented students declared themselves as so and told their personal stories to the crowd. The rally was a part of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance Week of action and was organized by DreamActivist Pennsylvania. Juntos and FUERZA, two local organizations, also participated.

Members of Occupy Temple participated in the rally and march.

After personal stories were told, the crowd marched to Philadelphia’s Immigration and Custom Enforcement field office on 1600 Callowhill St.

Once at the ICE building, Chairez, a University of Pennsylvania sophomore, and Lee, a Brynn Mawr junior, delivered a letter to demand the release of Miguel Orellana, a DREAM Act eligible youth, and a father of two young children, who has been detained by ICE for eight months.

Chairez, Lee and Cesar Marroquin, another potential DREAM Act beneficiary, sat on the street in front of the building refusing to move until they could speak to someone from ICE.

Protesters not sitting on the street held signs and chanted, while others linked arms in front of traffic. Employees from within the ICE building could be seen observing the crowd through windows and glass doors.

Erika Almiron, the executive director of Juntos, led chants and handed out information on a day of action in Harrisburg being organized for May 7 by Juntos.

“[Juntos] is organizing a bus, a mobilization, to Harrisburg to address these [anti-immigrant] bills that have come into our state,” Almiron said. “We’re here to tell people they need to join with us. Not as allies but because it affects them as much as it affects us.”

Fernanda Marroquin, one of the organizers of the rally, could be seen speaking to police and relaying messages to the activists sitting on the street.

“I walked up to them and I kind of told them the situation, what was happening [and] what was going to happen if they remained there,” Fernanda Marroquin said. “They’re very determined and they’re very determined to stay because they know that as undocumented youth we need to come out and we need to fight back against all of this hatred everywhere especially ICE scaring people and it’s not fair for people to live in the shadows.”

After approximately an hour of demonstration, Chairez and Lee stayed sitting in the street and, after multiple warnings, were arrested. The protesters on the sidewalk cheered for Chairez and Lee as they were handcuffed and chanted “shame” at the police officers as the arrest continued.

The demonstration quickly ended after the arrest and Fernanda Marroquin expressed her gratitude for the support from those in attendance. As protestors left, they left their signs weaved into the fence across the street from the ICE building.

Chairez and Lee were released from Philadelphia Police Headquarters the following afternoon with the possibility of being charged for disorderly conduct and obstruction of highways.

Luis Fernando Rodriguez can be reached at luis.fernando@temple.edu.


  1. Miguel Orellana is a convicted felon, with a long rap sheet of crimes involving drugs. His convictions resulted in his Temporary Protected Status being revoked and a hearing to be deported. He decided to be a criminal here in the U.S, father two children and now demands to be made a citizen and have taxpayers subsidize tuition discounts for him to go to college here in the U.S. It is absurd.

    To all the Temple students who are here on student visas..do you think it’s right and fair that colleges and universities like Temple, PENN and Bryn Mawr treat illegal aliens more favorably both in their admissions and legal requirements? These admissions offices practice a discriminatory double standard in the admission of foreign nationals ..there’s one set of strict criteria including requirements to obtain a student visa for foreign students who seek admission in an honorable fashion and then there’s the standard for illegal aliens…admissions offices waive most if not all of the internal requirements and legal requirements. Tell us is that fair, legal and just? Absolutely not.

  2. Chairez, like all Mexican nationals has every right and opportunity to go to college in Mexico for FREE. The world-class National Autonomous University system in Mexico is FREE for Mexican nationals like her. Chairez wasn’t ever being denied a good college education.

    Just think…our parents worked hard, paid their taxes so illegal aliens like Chairez, Lee and others could obtain free K-12 public school education in the U.S., compete for college admissions with U.S. citizens and LEGAL immigrants, as well as obtain private college financing from PENN and Bryn Mawr. How sweet a deal they got…and now they petulantly demand citizenship, and the ability to compete for federal and state financial aid to boot.

  3. This brazen and arrogant sense of entitlement is just one of the few traits exhibited by these illegal aliens that serves to only further increase the determination of law-abiding citizens to purge this country of the 20-30 million illegal aliens who roam our country, with impunity.

    The behavior of illegal aliens such as Chairez and Lee who are hell-bent on turning our country into a clone of the lawless, corrupt, and violent third world countries they left behind before invading ours must not and will not be tolerated by law-abiding citizens.

  4. Sloppy, inaccurate reporting here. Orellana is an adult, heis 25 years old and a thrice convicted felon,whose legal staus was revoked because of his criminal convictions. A court ordered his deportation and denied his asylum claim. He is most definitely not eligible for the imaginary DREAM ACT. Perhaps this writwr needs to retake his journalism 101class.

  5. Sloppy, inaccurate reporting here. Orellana is an adult, heis 25 years old and a thrice convicted felon,whose legal staus was revoked because of his criminal convictions.

  6. To KATHLEEN3, get your facts straight about the number of undocumented AMERICANS here… There are about 11.2 million, not 20 and definitively not 30 million undocumented Americans here (see if the new york times lies to you http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/02/us/02immig.html)… Also, to WISELATINA2THE RIGHT, we don’t want special treatment from the government to go to college, we just want equality (a founding American ideal btw) and to give back to our country (the U.S.) and it’s not a “sweet deal” with getting a free education, you can’t possible imagine the despair of knowing you don’t have a future to look forward too, something which I would NEVER wish upon you. Funny thing about equality, America has taken a long time to get it right. Women couldn’t vote much less go to college for a long time in our history and there was a reason why the South had laws against slaves learning to read, because it’s CRUEL to let a human being know his/her potential and not being allowed to fulfill it… One last thing, if your a follower of Christ then you would support the Dream Act (at least in principle) because you wouldn’t want the son to pay for the sins of the father: Ezekiel 18:20…Ohh, and that’s what Ronald Reagan believed…

  7. Say Johnfernandez91….. “Undocumented Americans”???? Are you frickin’ serious?!! That’s about as Orwellian as it gets!

    Illegals are criminals in need of prompt deportation. Illegals don’t deserve equal treatment because they don’t deserve it. They need to be ejected, not rewarded.

  8. Illegals deserve no pity! Somebody deport the vermin from our universities before they can freeboot anymore. They are guilty of terrorism by protesting here it is an act of war. Arrest Illegals On sight. No ID? get deported!


  10. I find it really interesting that the people posting on here that are against the Dream Act can’t argue or debate me with the many points I bring up.. Instead they just yell out mindless rhetoric without saying anything concrete to back them up like what BAJARAT said “Illegals don’t deserve equal treatment because they don’t deserve it.” Just shows how well they know our national issues and to properly articulate them…Smart, real smart…

  11. “Equality”? So, illegal aliens should be treated like U.S. citizens and legal immigrants?

    Illegal aliens are demanding special treatment and are receiving such when they are admitted to any U.S. college or university. International students are those that are neither U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Every college that admits illegal alien students is knowingly violating their own stated international student admissions policies as well as violating our federal immigration laws. The colleges like Bryn Mawr, Temple and PENN that admit illegal aliens, are favoring those that violate our immigration laws over the international students who have complied with the law to obtain proper admission and legal entry via a student visa. It is a double standard that favors illegal aliens. It is wrong, unjust and unfair to all those students who play by the rules.

    Every illegal alien student has the right to pursue a college education including financial aid in their nation of origin. Nothing prevents them from doing that and if they were smart they’d do so.

  12. The DREAM Act is a discriminatory law that favors illegal aliens over international students that play by the rules to get admission and meet immigration requirements. It also places illegal aliens in direct competition with U.S. citizen students for federal and state financial aid, including scholarships, grants and loans. The absurdity is endless.

    Every illegal alien has the right to go to college in their nation of origin. That is the right that they should be pursuing. In Mexico, the National Autonomous University (a world-class institution) is FREE to all Mexican nationals.

  13. Reality…if you are an illegal alien, this is not “your country”…no matter how much you wish it to be. The taxpayers of this nation, owe you nothing, just because your parents decided to violate our immigration laws and jeopardize the security of your family. Not our problem..there are millions of unemployed Americans, whose children have had to drop out of college, or go to less costly schools or restrict their studies to part-time because they can’t afford the tuitions, family job losses, etc. It is they, and not petulant illegal aliens who deserve compassion and assistance.

  14. Why on earth would we make people citizens whose only claim to citizenship is that they broke the law?

    The supreme court said taxpayers had to pay for K-12 education. We did that. The law says when illegal children turn 18 1/2 they are to leave. Why don’t they have to obey the law?

  15. Finally, someone has a good backed up opinion. WISELATINA2THERIGHT, what you said about undocumented immigrants going back to go to college in the’re country of origin, would’ve been a very logical thing to say.. But, your forgetting that the U.S. immigration system is in fact broken (you won’t find a senator or rep. in the House that’ll tell you any different). First off, the Dream Act is more of a band aid to help (the 2 million or so) children who by NO FAULT OF THERE OWN came here and were raised American to be allowed to become full citizens and to fulfill their potential as any human should. You probably didn’t know that over half of those “illegals” came to this country legally but later became out of status. Which means we desperately need visa reform. And actually, all those illegal broader crossings are at a all time low in 30 years so the problem isn’t that people come here illegally, is that we have a system that creates “illegalls”.

  16. Also you have this mentality of a us vs. them thing going on, which really is ironic since if your not native american then at one point your family started off as immigrants (probably when the system wasn’t broken). And you like talking about how the taxpayer loses money on undocumented immigrants, well for the most part they are taxpayers too and taxpayers as a whole are losing much more money for not allowing kids to work after completing college and are force to take away their skills to better another country.. Does that make any sense to you?… And even if someone who’s undocumented has family who is a citizen like a sibling, they would have to wait 10 years outside there country (the U.S.) for a crime they didn’t ask to commit just to go back home. Just face it, our country wouldn’t have been great if it weren’t for immigrants and having a broken immigration system hurts the U.S. much more then it’ll help it. You would’ve been absolutely right about what your saying of the whole double standards but the system is broken.. To me, it’s like your advocating the Jim Crow laws from the South (not calling you a racist btw) just because they were the laws on the books, it was still a broken system and nobody ever wants that…

  17. One last thing, the Dream Act would also save taxpayers money while at the same time “generate approximately $3.6 trillion” into our economy over 40 years and “DREAMers make up a highly-educated and potentially high-income earning group that can contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. economy across diverse industries.”………If you don’t believe me, see if facts lie to you http://www.laprogressive.com/dream-act-economic-benefits/

  18. The fact that a legal immigrant enters legallly and stays beyond the expiration date of their visa has nothing to do with a “broken immigration system” and everything to do with the alien’s intent to overstay. Most do so intentionally, knowing they can remain for years with little threat of deportation. The broken end of our immigration laws are the enforcement end.

    Illegal aliens who have entered illegally are not victims of a broken immigration laws. They purposefully paid nefarious, violent, dangerous, criminal enterprises to scurrry them across our borders. Illegal aliens then have to continue to violate our laws in order to function in our society. We all know that the so-called “undocumented” have in fact many identification papers, mostly fraudulently obtained and/or manufactured. There is no shortage and it’s such a large industry that the cartels now are operating the document mills for illegal alien customers.

    The illegal alien students have every right and opportunity to study in their nation of origin, including pursuing financial aid, loans, scholarships and grants. The status of our immigration laws, has absolutely nothing to do with that at all.

  19. While the majority of illegal aliens in our country are believed to have entered the United States by evading the inspections process that is supposed to prevent the entry of aliens who, under our laws, are excludible from the United States for a variety of reasons, it is estimated that 40% of the illegal aliens entered the United States through ports of entry and then either overstayed their authorized period of time in the United States, accepted unauthorized employment, failed to attend a school for which they were admitted to attend or in one way or another, violated the terms of their admission into the United States as specified by the particular visas that they had been issued, or had violated the terms of the Visa Waiver Program under which they were permitted to enter the United States

  20. Ok, lets talk about people who are here with status. There are about a million applicants who are doomed to wait for up to 30 years to receive their green cards which in turn causes a massive brain drain to our economy, which ultimately hurts U.S. innovation, in addition to preventing creation of new jobs and hindering the economic recovery, what do you say about big hole? Also, how about those people that work on farms picking up food? About 70 percent of those farms have undocumented workers because no one else can do that kind of back breaking labor, if those guys suddenly get deported then I hope you’ll enjoy paying more for food like when Bush proposed immigration reform and immigrants everywhere held rallies in support causing prices to spike in 07..

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