DREAM Act Protest at Senator Dianne Feinstein's Office Will Likely Lead to Arrests [Updated]
Senator Dianne Feinstein is the co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, yet today she is the target of a protest about it outside her Westwood office. It's the same group that shut down Wilshire Boulevard last week and this morning they held a press conference as four students began a sit-in inside the lobby.
The act would basically enable children under the age of 16 brought by their parents to the U.S. illegally to gain citizenship by completing high school and then doing college or military service for two years. Many believe it's necessary since the children were forced to cross the border.
The four sit-in protestors plan on being arrested if their demands -- bring the DREAM Act to the Senate floor now -- are not met [Update: Arrests were made around 1:15 p.m.]. "She's the chair of the Judiciary Committee and the bill is in that committee right now," explained one of the organizers, who wished to remain anonymous because of their job [Update: Feinstein is actually the chair of the Intelligence Committee, but is a member of the Judiciary Committee] . "We're calling on her to move that bill out of that committee and onto the floor as a stand alone bill."
At this point, there are no plans to do that, explained a spokesperson for Feinstein, who introduced the DREAM Act in 2003. "It doesn't make a lot of sense to protest against someone who has been there, working on this issue since the beginning," said Gil Duran from his Washington D.C. office.
Feinstein is also a supporter of comprehensive immigration and protestors today are worried that by folding the DREAM Act into that, it will further delay the bill into reality. "We believe our community needs a victory and that victory should be the DREAM Act moving forward in 2010," said the organizer.
Others believe there are still not enough votes and that holding off is the best strategy.
The LAPD was notified of the protest shortly before 11:15 a.m. "We're there to just keep the peace and see what happens," said Officer Rosario Herrera, who said there had been no arrests as of noon.
For the record: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said to gain citizenship, students would have to complete two years of high school, college or military service. They basically would have to complete high school and then go for a college degree or join the military.