Local students fight to keep “Dreamers” in Mid-South

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Demonstrations have erupted across the country in protest of making "Dreamers" leave the United States.

An Obama administration policy called DACA protected dreamers until the policy was dissolved by President Trump. Trump made the announcement in September. It is set to end in March.

Now, two Overton High School students are doing what they can to educate anxious DACA recipients.

On Wednesday Overton High School seniors Eddy Gonzalez and Silvia Vazquez explained what they're doing on and off campus to educate people about the Dream Act.

"We're trying to get people involved, to create awareness and tell people about it. We want to get Congressmen and Congress to make a difference," said Vazquez.

Vazquez was born in Mexico, and her family moved to the U.S. when she was a year old. A DACA recipient herself, Silvia is looking ahead to the unknown, but she is using this time as a platform.

Their work initially started as a project.  Gonzalez and Vazquez could choose from 33 different learning assignments. Their teacher Michael Hoots has watched their journey change.

"One of the 33 assignments was advocacy. It was originally to advocate for more scholarships for DACA students and then after President Trump made his announcement in September they came to me and said what do we do? I said well we just change our focus. We will advocate for DACA students to have a way to stay in the country," said Hoots.

It evolved from there.

"We decided we were going to start here at our own school," said Gonzalez.

They educated their classmates and collected signatures to take to local lawmakers advocating for the Dream Act to lead to a path for citizenship.

In November they made the trip to Washington D.C. and met with Congressmen, telling them why the Dream Act is important to them. Since their return, they have held a vigil Downtown and plan to do more.

"They're separating families, jobs and careers. They're all going to be destroyed because of this. These are people that are your neighbors, your friends, your family, your doctors and your nurses. These are people who have contributed to America and its now being taken away," said Vazquez.

Gonzalez plans to attend Christian Brothers and Vazquez hopes to attend the University of Memphis.

They plan to hold another rally in a few weeks.


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