An undocumented immigrant took the podium Wednesday night, for the first time, in the Democratic National Convention. Benita Veliz, an undocumented Texan who was a high school valedictorian and dual-major college graduate, gave voice to the undocumented community in the US. Her achievements are quite remarkable, and they are an example of the thousands of youth who have potential, vision and energy to work for the well-being of their families and communities.
In 2009, Benita was almost deported back to Mexico, for missing a stop sign. Thanks to the organizing of tireless dream activists, her deportation was stopped. It is very hard to imagine that a country would want to deport a person as prepared and educated as Benita. Yet, that was the situation that Benita and many other undocumented youth faced and continue to face. Even though deferred action was announced only a few months ago, the fact that President Obama has deported more than one million people should not be forgotten. Giving a two-minute spot to an undocumented person during a national convention is not enough. Approving a policy that helps only a small number of undocumented immigrants and does not even give an opportunity for appeal in case of denial and its renewal is bound to the re-election of a president is not enough.
It should not be forgotten that the DREAM Act did not pass in 2010 due to the lack of five votes, and it was exactly five Democratic senators who voted "no" (Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jon Tester (D-Mt), Max Baucus (D-Mt) and Kay Hagan (D-NC) on the DREAM Act. If President Obama gets re-elected, he will have another four-year period to show his position on undocumented immigration. What do you think it will be?