(Demonstrators hold up their banners as the shout during a immigration a rally on the National Mall in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Photo/AP /Jose Luis Magana)

Immigration talks in the “dark” but activists say they are still optimistic

In New Jersey, activists push for DREAMers to benefit from the Tuition Equality Act. In Florida, groups are on a hunger strike for immigration reform. In Illinois, hundreds marched in the streets saying, “the time is now.” And in Arizona anti-deportation activists gathered to find new strategies that will help stop deportations.

Still, the House of Representatives has yet to allow a vote on immigration reform, and congressional leaders admit that it is a “dark time” for immigration reform.

But the community is not giving up.

“It is clear that many DREAM Activists including the New Jersey DREAM Act Coalition are using every means possible to keep the pressure on to support immigration reform and tuition equality for undocumented students,” said Cid Wilson, a national Dominican-American leader. “We’re talking about real lives who are at risk, if we don’t tackle the issue of comprehensive immigration reform head-on.”

Wilson said he is aware the House might or might not allow a vote on immigration reform.

“But I am still optimistic for our DREAMers that comprehensive immigration reform including The DREAM Act will be the law of the land soon,” he said. “Otherwise, Congress will see more activism from DREAMers and their supporters, including voters like me.”

Wilson, who serves on the board of various civil rights organizations, speaks for many immigration activists. Today, they continue to rally, protest and even risk getting arrested despite getting little answers of when the immigration discussion will be put on the table.

In New Jersery, activists celebrated even the small victories. During the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey Gala Saturday, Republican Governor Chris Christie, who is facing re-election in November, told students that he would be willing to work on the Tuition Equality Act, also known as the New Jersey Dream Act, according to the NJ Tuition Equity for DREAMers campaign said.

“We are going to try to work on it,” Governor Christie said in the gala. “We will get it done in the Lame Duck.”

Supporters say they will continue to push the Republican governor to live up to his word.

“It is important to continue to put pressure on our elected officials because this is a civil rights issue,” Wilson said. “Some very conservative members of Congress still think we’re living in the stone ages.”

“The demographics of our nation have changed, the voting patterns have changed in support of immigration reform, and those Congress members who stand in the way of forward progress will find themselves losing future elections unless they come out in support of immigration reform,”  Wilson said.

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