In 2010 it was estimated that just over 1.1 million undocumented youth were living in the United States. Because they have the right to an education, many undocumented youths live out their childhood without knowing they do not have proper papers and a legal status.  In 2009, the activism of Nine DREAMers brought the precarious position of undocumented youth into the open. Their efforts inspired renewed efforts to pass the Dream Act, a bill intended to offer legal protections for undocumented youth. Despite repeated efforts dating back to 2001, the DREAM act was unable to pass a divided Congress. In June 2012, confronted with continued action led by the Dream 9 and other DREAMer activists, President Barak Obama issued an executive order called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. President Trump rescinded DACA in September 2017.

The story of the Dream 9, their activism and the dilemmas they faced, was brilliantly covered in the LatinoUSA podcast “The Dream 9.” Google and Latino USA worked together to create a powerful multimedia interactive to share the story. In the introduction to the collection, the authors explain:

The Dream 9 was a group of young undocumented activists who staged one of the riskiest protests in the history of the immigration rights movement. In 2013, nine young undocumented activists walked from Mexico up to border officials in the United States and demanded to be let in and granted asylum. They were wearing their graduation caps and gowns—a uniform that had become the unofficial symbol of the Dreamer movement. They walked arm in arm, flanked by reporters and cameras. If their plan failed, they risked never being able to return to the United States, the country where they grew up, ever again.

Follow the links to listen to their story and explore the site. The audio is embedded into the google site along with pictures and biographical information about the dreamers.

Reflection Questions

  1. Who were the DREAM 9? What words would you use to describe them? What words to the journalists in the piece use? What words do you think they might use to describe themselves?
  2. What do you see as the key choices and dilemmas faced by the DREAM 9? Where was there consensus between the DREAMers? What differences in strategy did you notice between the DREAMers?
  3. How would you assess the legacy of the DREAMers? What would you use to measure their impact?

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