With the return of Edgar Torres, Karen Hernandez and César Ortiz to Mexico, the total number Dream 30 activists deported comes to five, with another four remaining in detention in El Paso. The rest have been allowed to remain the United States provisionally, either a broad form of discretionary parole or to pursue asylum cases.
Some 30 people who had lived part of their lives as undocumented immigrants in the United States gathered in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, in September and crossed through the legal port of entry as a unique form of protest against the Obama administration’s record-setting pace of deportations. Dubbing themselves the “Dream 30,” the group was joined by four more participants along the way.
The Dream 30 demonstration followed an even more audacious protest in July, when three undocumented immigrants — Marcos Saavedra, Lizbeth Mateo and Lulu Martinez – traveled to Mexico voluntarily, then reentered through a legal port of entry at Nogales, Arizona, and openly declared their status. Six others who had once lived as undocumented immigrants in the United States joined them in crossing. All nine were released to pursue asylum claims.
The escalating tactics have exposed long-simmering tensions between groups like NIYA that want to press harder for reform and politicians who hope to channel public frustration into an effort for comprehensive immigration reform that shows little chance of breaking through a deadlocked Congress. U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez said earlier this month he would no longer work with NIYA, after the group privately recorded a conversation he had with parents of detained members of the Dream 30.