Rodriguez: Nightmare Looms for an Original DREAMER
by Roberto Rodriguez
This is the story of Lizbeth Mateo, a young, bright Indigenous woman from Oaxaca, Mexico, and a recent graduate from the Santa Clara University School of Law, who today finds herself under threat of imminent deportation.
There was a time when young brown peoples lived in the shadows, avoided the light of the day, and avoided all manner of authority and government officials.
And yet they dreamt. They always dreamt.
This wasn’t just any kind of young brown people. These were young brown students who had been brought into the country as either infants or as children, without, according to the U.S. government, the legal right to live in this country.
One day, they got tired of living in hiding, lost their fear, they stepped forward and began to assert their rights as full human beings and began to fight back guerilla-style; Zapatista style.
And then one day in 2010, after Congress again failed to pass the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, they also got tired of fighting in the shadows and thus, one day, five of them made the decision to sit down and unmask themselves, proclaiming to the world that they were both “undocumented and unafraid.” This Act would have permitted students, who had grown up in this country and who had completed their schooling here, to go to college without the threat of deportation and at the same tuition rate as in-state college students.
Where they chose to sit down were the Tucson offices of Sen. John McCain (R). Lizbeth was one of the five. This historic action included telling the world, and demonstrating it, that they were also not afraid of the immigration authorities. And, sure enough, the authorities came, arrested them and took them away, though, in short order, they were released. That action was like that proverbial shot heard around the world.