DREAM Act Today

The Dream Act Starts with You
a DAP periodical RSS

Reflect and regroup

What happened

Here’s what really happened on Saturday: laws didn’t change. Nobody destroyed your dreams. Nobody said that you will never be recognized. Nobody claimed, “this is it, your fight is over.” This is as far as the Dream Act has ever been taken. And you took it here.

How to make sense of it

There is no “due by” date on the Dream Act. You can either leave the battle in the hands of the willing and hope that the law will arrive in time, or you can join the ranks and fight.

Why retain a lawyer and where to find her

As stated in the first post of the series, one of my main goals is to remind Dream Act beneficiaries that you have rights (remain silent) when detained by Border Patrol or ICE. One of your fundamental rights is the right for representation, use it. Getting the best representation that I could find has greatly reduced the stress induced by the courtroom.

Retaining a lawyer while you are in jail will be costlier than doing so after your family posts your bail. When I was detained, my family contacted many lawyers in Chicago. To post bail and to retain representation at this point would have cost us $15,000 -- five thousand for the bail and ten thousand for lawyer fees. We didn’t have this much money, after posting bail with help from the Southwest Organizing Project; I faced my first hearing alone.

After the first hearing, a Chicago based lawyer, who came recommended, helped me find a qualified and reputable lawyer in Buffalo through the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). I was advised that a lawyer who practices in the area is familiar with the local immigration court and would be better equipped to represent me. A resource to find low cost representation is the database of non-profit organizations and law firms provided by the U.S. Department of Justice. In time for my second hearing, I retained the lawyer for $5,000, thousands of dollars less than what my family was quoted while I was in jail.

Investing in representation has payed off. Without my lawyer’s expertise, I would have been separated from my family long ago.

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In U.S. Congress
47/60 Senators say Yea on DREAM Act
36 say Nay, 17 others

162/218 Reps say Yea on DREAM Act
80 say Nay, 198 others