Trail of Dreams vs. KKK: Walking on for Immigration Reform


Ever walked a mile in an undocumented youth's shoes? How about 1,500 miles?

To wrap up’s coverage of DREAM Act Week of Action, we're revisiting the four youth who kicked off the New Year by embarking on 1,500 mile "Trail of Dreams" to call attention to the need for immigration reform. All of these young "dreamwalkers" were brought to the United States as children.

Juan is the only one of the four with documented status, which he recently attained through the concerted efforts of a loving U.S. citizen stepmother. Carlos has lived in America since he was two years old, and has roots in the country from before his birth through his grandfather, who was a U.S. citizen. Gaby's home was raided four years ago, and her family is fighting against deportation back to a country she left when only seven years old. Felipe was accepted to Duke University, yet had to pass up his dream of attending due to the lack of a Social Security number.

The recent KKK rally in Georgia was timed to occur when the Trail of Dreams walkers were passing through the area. The youth joined the NAACP unity rally, a stark difference between the messages of the two groups: one for tolerance and human rights, the other for hatred and racism. How can the Ku Klux Klan, a group that so fervently opposed civil rights, lynched African-Americans, and committed acts of terrorism, even today be able to hold a rally where it is greeted by "white power" cheers? Jumping on the nativist bandwagon puts a very thin veneer on a very racist message.

"I think the greatest motivation I have is the history books,“ Felipe says.

“That once upon a time the laws in this country said it was O.K. to have slaves. It was O.K. to put people in the back of the bus. But the laws changed."

It's now the right time for the laws to change again, with the passage of comprehensive immigration reform.

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