DREAM Act hunger strike spreads

by
November 25, 2010

By Melissa Ludwig – Express-News

University students across Texas this week joined San Antonio students in a hunger strike aimed at pressuring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to vote for the DREAM Act, a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for students and soldiers brought to the country illegally as children.

Started two weeks ago by a dozen students at the University of Texas at San Antonio, the hunger strike spread this week to UT campuses in Austin, Dallas, Arlington, Brownsville and Edinburg, as well as the University of North Texas in Denton, according to members of DREAM Act NOW!, the UTSA student group that organized the strike.

The group is part of a national coalition called United We DREAM, which brings together activists in each state. Universities in Florida and Indiana have also begun striking in solidarity, members said.

“Now that they have seen we are still going and not planning to stop, some have joined us,” said Claudia Sanchez, one of the UTSA strikers. Sanchez, 29, is a U.S. citizen, but many of her fellow strikers are in the country illegally.

Hutchison met with a DREAM Act activist in Washington last week in hopes the meeting would end the hunger strike, according to a spokeswoman. Sanchez said San Antonio strikers want a face-to-face meeting with Hutchison when she comes home to Texas for the holidays.

“We want to start talking about the specifics of the DREAM Act so she can tell us exactly what she doesn’t agree with,” Sanchez said. “We are giving her until Thanksgiving. If not, we are going to start stepping up our campaign. We will put more pressure on her.”

In a statement issued Tuesday, Hutchison said she would not support the current bill because it “goes far beyond the intended group of children who grew up in the U.S. and attended primary and secondary schools here.”

Hutchison is concerned for the safety and welfare of the students, but has already met with people from many parts of Texas on the issue and does not plan change her position, the statement said.

Sanchez said she hoped Congress would vote on the bill next week during the lame-duck session.

To read more, visit: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/dream_act_hunger_strike_spreads_110273704.html

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