Undocumented activists, professors take to Old City for immigrant rights

Undocumented youth and allies rallied for immigrant rights. Nearly 50 people gathered in Old City, at 6th and Market Streets, yesterday, Oct. 20, to protest against failed efforts, at both the federal and state levels,

Undocumented youth and allies rallied for immigrant rights.

Nearly 50 people gathered in Old City, at 6th and Market Streets, yesterday, Oct. 20, to protest against failed efforts, at both the federal and state levels, to make passage of the DREAM Act a priority to politicians.

Organized by DREAMActivist PA, undocumented youth declared themselves as such in an effort to raise awareness about the issue, and to put human faces to the issue.

In addition to rallying for the DREAM, or Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, Act, the protestors called on President Barack Obama to enforce policies to stop the deportation of undocumented families.

Professors from Temple and the University of Pennsylvania, religious leaders and State Rep. Tony Payton (D-Phila.), who introduced the Pennsylvania DREAM Act.

“A lot of my colleagues are wasting time trying to further demonize the immigrant population,” Payton said. “They graduated from high school here, they grew up here, they should pay in-state tuition. I think that people just have to get over their ignorance.”

Brightly colored signs displayed by the crowd read: “Don’t Hate, Educate,” “Obama Take Action! End Deportations” and “1 Million + Deportations, Obama = Deporter In Chief.”

Armed with only a megaphone, Fernanda Marroquin, an organizer of the event, lead the group’s chant of “Out of the shadows and into the streets,” as it marched to the Philadelphia Immigration Court, at 9th and Market streets.

ANGELO FICHERA TTN | Fernanda Marroquin speaks out about her undocumented status at yesterday's rally.

Marroquin said that most undocumented people do consider Pennsylvania to be their home. Many have never known a life anywhere else, she said.

Brandon Rey Ramirez, a junior political science major and Temple Student Government deputy chief of staff, attended the rally.

The DREAM Act is less of an immigration bill and more of an education bill, Ramirez said.

“If you had a better policy, or a more fair education system, you wouldn’t have this problem,” Ramirez said.

Elizabeth Pride, a senior anthropology major, said she attended the rally to support local undocumented youth.

“[Undocumented people] deserve equal treatment, no human being is illegal,” Pride said, criticizing the “illegal alien” term used to describe undocumented people.

Undocumented students took turns addressing the group and telling their personal stories of growing up in America without a legal status.

“I am undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic,” each said while making their speech.

Caroline Ezzo, Temple for DREAM president, said this was the first time for a lot of undocumented youth to declare their status.

“I am so proud of all of them. Anyone who hears their stories has to be touched,” Ezzo said.

Joseph Schwartz, a political science professor, has advised Temple for a DREAM since its formation last year.

Schwartz spoke in front of the court and related the rally’s mission to that of the protestors at Occupy Philadelphia.

After pointing to the creation of NAFTA in 1994 as a major hurdle to Mexican corn farmers, he concluded that politicians need to finally pay attention to the Hispanic community.

“It’s of the Obama Administration’s best interest to support this cause – he needs the Hispanic vote,” said Schwartz after mentioning the president’s low approval ratings.

Schwartz predicted that the issue of the DREAM Act’s passage will see an upsurge in activity as the undocumented children that it affects come to college age.

“I wish that there were more students and faculty from Temple here, but also more people from Occupy Philadelphia, because the struggle for immigrant rights is the struggle for the rights of all working people, all children and all people who contribute to American society,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz said he believed Temple administrators, who have not yet addressed the issue publicly, will also have to take a stance on the topic in the coming years.

Haley Kmetz can be reached at haley.kmetz@temple.edu.


  1. These immigration issues calls for a Congressional corrections, after the ‘2006 Secure Fence act’ is resurrected and built as planned. This was a double-layer fence parallel to each other, as signed into law by former president Bush. Currently waiting in the wings is Lamar Smith’s ‘Legal Workforce Act’ that disinclined GOP leaders who are wavering in bringing (H.R. 2885 bill) to the floor of the House. It’s blatantly obvious the usual suspects have been whining at these lawmakers door, from the Special Interest lobbyists. Mandating E-Verify could easily be the epitome of returning America to the “Rule of Law” for all law-abiding Americans. It could be foreseen as a series of steps, to curtail the foothold baby- citizenship financial dilemma, probably one of the highest costs to taxpayers. Illegal aliens unable to procure work, will pack up their possessions and leave.

    In a study by the (FAIR) Federation of American Immigration Reform, they have estimated that somewhere between 20 million and upwards of illegal immigrants have unlawful roots here, not the numbers offered by previous or today’s administrations. The investment firm analysts for Bear-Stearns claimed that the US illegal immigrant population, also agreed with this number of 20 million people.” This was prior to the demise of the company in 2008.

    Much of these illegal entries has attributed to the 49 Percent of poverty in the United States. Since 1963 the U.S. has spent over $11 trillion on anti-poverty programs, given out money, food, Section 8 housing, medical care, and assistance to the poor and near underprivileged. Since the immigration reforms of the 1960s, the U.S. has imported unsustainable poverty through immigration measures that were permitted and encouraged entry and the residence of millions of low-skill immigrants into the nation. Low-skill migrants and immigrants are liable to be poor, having babies who, in turn, are adding to America’s propagating poverty problem, driving up governmental benefits, public service, and education costs. We are now topping $113 billion dollars annually, as according to the Heritage Foundation.

    Under the Liberals, Democrats and GOP elitists nothing will ever be done, against the increasing numbers of foreign nationals coming here. The subsidizing costs are reaching astronomical unprecedented dollars, especially if President Obama passes Amnesty; if the voters offer him a second four year term a reform package would devastate any chance of climbing out this deepening recession. A 2.6 Trillion price tag as analyzed by the Heritage Foundation.

    Get in touch with Members of the Ways & Means Committee to phone or fax for free at NumbersUSA. You can also contact all these lawmakers through their Internet websites. But you insist on the Legal Workforce Act today and start putting Americans back to a job, taken by foreign nationals.

    Bombard Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) ((202-225-0600); House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) (202-225-2815); House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (202) 225-2915); House Chairman of Ways & Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) (202-225-3561).

    NEBRASKA, Rep. Berg, Rick (GOP) (202-225-2611) ; NEBRASKA, Rep. Smith, Adrian (GOP) (202-225-6435); LOUISIANA, Rep. Boustany, Charles (GOP) (202-225-2031); (202-225-2031); KENTUCKY, Rep. Davis, Geoff (GOP) (202-225-3465); PENNSYLVANIA, Rep. Gerlach, Jim (GOP)(202-225-4315); KANSAS, Rep. Jenkins, Lynn (GOP)(202-225-6601); MINNESOTA, Rep. Paulsen, Erik (GOP)(202-225-2871); WASHINGTON, Rep. Reichert, Dave (GOP) (202-225-7761); WISCONSIN, Rep. Ryan, Paul (GOP) (202-225-3031) Tell these unwilling lawmakers that you are a voter and that they will be hearing from you in 2012.

    First on the lists, a Bracero type program, to allow workers to be admitted for farm employment and agriculture legally, who can then—BE TRACKED–if they abscond from the jobs allocated to them? Between 1942 and 1964, some 4.6 million Mexicans were admitted to do farm work and despite protests from US farm labor advocacy groups there was no lack of labor, only a shortage of respectable living wages and decent working conditions. By paying a fair wage, but their conditions must include health care, schooling for their kids—not placed as a financial burden on taxpayers as it mostly is today. The Bracero project should be resurrected as with the 2006 Secure Fence Act with two fences–instead of the half–completed one fence we have now and decked with nasty concertina razor wire.

    Give a priority to highly skilled workers, with proven credentials of exceptional experiences and offer preferences to entrepreneurs, and wealthy businessman and women who can contribute to American society. Stop the travesty of the million legal immigrants a year, who are being covertly brought here by corporate owners through Department of Labor immigration loopholes. Through financial necessity we must reduce and stop illegal immigration at the porous borders, using one way flight tickets and using every tool available to seek out those already here. IF SOVEREIGNTY MINDED, PATRIOTIC AMERICANS WANT THERE COUNTRY BACK, AND THEN JOIN THE TENS OF MILLIONS OF MEMBERS OF THE TEA PARTY BRANCHES THROUGHOUT OUR NATION. THE TEA PARTY IS AN OPEN, FORUM FOR EVERY CITIZEN AND LEGAL RESIDENT, NO MATTER A PERSON RACE OR SPIRITUAL STANDING.

    Certainly in 2012 we must safe-guard our elections, as illegal aliens do vote and as its been predominately shown before.

  2. Illegal: Term that is used to describe something that is prohibited or not authorized by law.
    Alien: (law), a non-citizen inhabitant of a country.

    What is there about ILLEGAL ALIEN that is unclear? My surrogate mom was a LEGAL alien to our country. She and her parents followed the law and became American citizens. She worked for my dad as a housekeeper, but she was much MORE than that to my brother and me.
    Now, there are people avoiding the legal means to enter this country. Totally unfair to Juanita and her family that worked hard to do it legally. Talk about equal rights, the Socialists and others that support illegals in this country are usurping the rights of the LEGAL immigrants to live and work in America

  3. Hey ICE, They are serving themselves up on a silver platter for you ! Now you can’t cry that “We don’t have the resources.”

  4. “It’s of the Obama Administration’s best interest to support this cause – he needs the Hispanic vote,” said Schwartz after mentioning the president’s low approval ratings.

    It’s all about power and political agendas. Screw actually helping the country, just get the votes of a certain demographic.

    Yeah, I remember when Obama promised gays tons of rights *and guess what didn’t freaking happen*. No politician should pander to a demographic so they can get in power. That’s just as bad as crony capitalism – and look at them wanting more Occupy Philly protesters who hate crony capitalism but like to have “the Hispanic vote”.

    Freaking DREAM – give the illegal immigrants (I am sorry that their parents forced them to break the law, but it’s wrong to take an illegal immigrant over a legal alien or an American citizen – but then again, Democrats like picking and choosing what rights and privileges college students have) an edge over Americans or legal immigrants.

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