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DREAM Act supporters unveil Tempe billboard

REAL TALK: The Arizona Dream Act Coalition announced on Monday their new billboard near Tempe Market Place. (Photo by Rosie Gochnour)
REAL TALK: The Arizona Dream Act Coalition announced on Monday their new billboard near Tempe Market Place. (Photo by Rosie Gochnour)

College students stood in the parking lot of Tempe Marketplace Monday to announce a billboard advertising legislation that would allow undocumented students a path to citizenship.

The billboard is near the AZ Loop 202 and McClintock Road and it reads, “Yes deport them ALL, that makes sense…?” with a picture of three students. One is dressed in an Army outfit, another in a cap and gown graduation outfit, and the last one as a doctor.

The Arizona Dream Act Coalition, a local group of mostly undocumented college students that lobby for the DREAM Act, is asking for support from conservative Republicans to support the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. They are using the billboard to spread their message.

The DREAM Act would create a path to citizenship for undocumented students under 35 who entered the U.S. before the age of 16, have been in the country for five consecutive years, and have graduated high school. The act also requires these students to go to college or enlist in the military.

The billboard will stay up for three weeks, said Dulce Matuz, policy adviser for the coalition and a 2009 ASU graduate in electrical engineering.

It was put at the specific location because the Tempe and Scottsdale areas tend to have conservative residents and the coalition is asking for their support, said Israel Araujo, the president of the coalition.

They are advertising the DREAM Act because they are hoping to get a stand-alone vote during the “lame duck” session in the U.S. Congress before newly elected representatives take office Jan. 3. The lame duck session began Monday.

The billboard went up on Nov. 9 and was funded by private donations and fundraising, Araujo said.  They announced it Monday because it’s the first time Congress has convened since the elections.

Dee Dee Blase, the founder of Somos Republicans, a Hispanic national organization that supports Hispanic GOP members, said the students need to garner support from the Republicans in order to pass the DREAM Act.

“It’s not going to pass without Republicans,” said Celso Mireles, a 2009 ASU business management graduate and the public relations liaison for the coalition.

In a letter dated Nov. 15 to Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., Blase asked him to bring the act up for a vote without any controversial amendments that Republicans would oppose.

“We are tired of seeing these children living in the shadows of society,” she wrote in the letter.

Politico reported on Wednesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would schedule a stand-alone vote for the DREAM Act.

Reid told Univision’s Jorge Ramos before Election Day that he would also present the DREAM Act as a stand-alone bill in the Senate. Neither has announced a date when the act will reach the floor.

Reid presented a military budget bill back in September with the DREAM Act attached as an amendment and a provision that would end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prevents gays to openly serve in the military.

Republicans voted against a debate because they didn’t agree with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Tyler Bowyer, president of the College Republicans at ASU’s Tempe campus, said he does not agree that Congress should bring a vote to the DREAM Act this session.

“There’s a lot of good qualities [in the DREAM Act],” he said. “But I have the stance that there shouldn’t be incentives to cross the border illegally.”

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