The celebration turned into determination as work started soon after on the next steps for immigration in the U.S. “We plan to hold accountable those people that we elected into office,” says Daniel Rodriguez of United We Dream. In the months leading up to the election United We Dream and local affiliates like Together Colorado went door-to-door and telling their stories of how they are American without papers.
“We introduced ourselves into people’s lives through our story telling,” says Cristina Jimenez of UWD. Over 5,000 participants have come out with their stories to change the perception around the issue of immigration, which Jimenez argues will finally portray DREAMers as young people who contribute to society, not a burden on the economy as many anti-immigration groups often represent them. Jimenez believes that it was through their tireless advocacy efforts that the DREAM Act came to the center of the country’s political agenda this year.
Now that the high-stakes election is over, Latinos and DREAMers will continue to fight for a permanent change to current immigration policies.
“A historic turnout in votes for the president was an official mandate,” says Jimenez, “the President, and Republicans and Democrats, need to come together to deliver change on immigration policy.” Lorella Praeli of UWD shows there are no signs of the organization slowing down,“We will be starting to do outreach in coming weeks to both Democrats and Republicans, and going even stronger in the next year.”
“We have been meeting with members of the administration,” explains Praeli “and President Obama ran on a platform that he was committed to bringing a solution for the 11 million people. We believe that the President will take a lead on this, and we will make sure that the community is behind him and next to him to really push that this happens.”
“Our immediate constituency is dreamers,” says Praeli, and United We Dream expects to see that community grow with a wave of applicants who will come up in higher numbers across the country, and they are ready to help all those who are in need of info and applications.
“What we want to make clear, despite what Republicans and Democrats are planning to do, our goal and plan is to continue to place pressure on politicians to keep families together,” says Jimenez. “We will not stop until we get there.”