UR DREAMers: the student group gets its name from the federal DREAM Act, which protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation and allows them to pursue higher education, receive driver’s license, and obtain a work permit.
It was created a year ago by junior Raul Ramirez in an effort to bring solidarity among the undocumented and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students at UR.
“Through this group, we can keep in contact with each other while we are here.” Ramirez said.
But things have changed in the past few months, following the election of President Donald Trump, who has vowed to ramp up deportations of undocumented immigrants and to build a wall between Mexico and the United States.
As a result, UR DREAMers is gaining momentum.
The group organized several events last semester with the goal of making everyone aware of their presence on campus and eradicating some of the misconceptions associated with immigration.
At the end of last semester, UR DREAMers organized the event called “#MorethanALabel: My Immigrant Story”, at which many students came forward, sharing their experiences, journeys, and struggles as immigrants.
“It was really interesting being able to hear their story, see where they come from and able to connect with them,” Ramirez said.
UR DREAMers has an eventful spring semester planned, starting with the “#ToImmigrantsWithLove” event, at which students will be able to write letters of support to undocumented students on campus to be displayed in Douglass.
“My community, my family feels afraid now,” said Haydi Torres, sophomore and member of UR DREAMers “By writing letters, [you are] doing something. That makes a difference.”
Torres describes herself as, “undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic.” She is originally from La Ceiba, Honduras.
“If I say that I am undocumented, I am an illegal alien, will they change their mind? What would they think?” Torres said in reference to her fellow students.
UR DREAMers are trying to break the myths and stigma associated with terms like “DACA,” “undocumented,” and “illegal alien.”
“UndocuAllies Training” is a workshop that Torres and a couple of other members of UR DREAMers are organizing next month. Its name refers to people who support undocumented students.
Faculty, students, and administrators are slated to talk about immigration policies and how they can facilitate an inclusive environment for undocumented students.
“You are more likely to defend and protect people that you know.” Torres said of the group’s efforts.