POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

On Thanksgiving, activists fast to show dedication to DREAM Act

BY Leah Mishkin, Correspondent |

Cynthia Osorio was just three years old when her family illegally made the trip to the United States from Mexico to escape poverty.

“I don’t really remember the pathway here I just remember holding onto my mom saying please don’t let me go and crying.”

She’s getting ready to march Thursday because she’s a DACA recipient, meaning she’s protected from deportation. But like 800,000 other recipients, that protection is set to expire in March. Just in New Jersey, that would affect 22,000 people.

“It’s hard to know that there’s a countdown. I have exactly 244 days until my DACA work authorization card expires and then I have a total of 330 something days until my New Jersey license is no longer valid,” said Osorio. “To be seen as illegal aliens is very hurtful because I call this country as home. This is the only country I’ve ever known.”

“I am a former DREAMER so I understand every single hardship you are going through right now and I’m just here to show my support.” said Action Together NJ Director of Immigration, Daysi Martinez.

The hunger strikers are a group of people who haven’t had anything to eat in four days.

“I woke up very dizzy this morning and nausice so it kind of feels like my stomach is eating itself at this point because it’s the fourth day. But, I’m still coming out here because I think it’s important for pushing our message.” said DACA recipient Adriana Gonzalez.

It’s all in support of a clean DREAM Act, meaning a pathway to citizenship for people like Cynthia. It’s a bill that stands alone from conservative immigration proposals. Trump has signaled he would be willing to sign a DREAM Act only as part of broader legislation that also increased border security.

“This is a matter of urgency. We need to include “dreamers” and we need to not include funding for deportations and a border wall and the hiring of more enforcement officers at the same time. And that needs to happen in December because people are falling out of status already,” said Make the Road New Jersey organizer Nedia Morsy.

This week the group has rallied in front of the offices of several New Jersey’s GOP congressmen. Today was in Rep. Leonard Lance’s hometown.

What’s really interesting is we stopped a couple of people and some don’t even want to talk to us. And then you have others who are driving and honking their cars in support, so two very different perspectives on what’s going on.

Many people commuted to get to their families to celebrate Thanksgiving together. This group wants to be able to do the same, without a fear it may all be taken away.

The hunger strike was supposed to end at 12 o’clock. Even after then, they’re still out singing, not even thinking about food. They’re just worried about getting their message across.