Students from across the San Diego County will be holding vigil to support the DREAM Act on Monday night. The students along with people across the country want to increase awareness about the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors bill which will come to a vote in Congress as soon as Nov 30.
The bill would allow undocumented students a path to citizenship; among the requirements would be the completion of at least two years of college or military service.
Supporters of the act say by not passing the DREAM Act the United States is wasting valuable talent.
"We are punishing innocent students," said San Diego's DREAM Act vigil organizer Kendall Tylee." These students want to give back to the home they have only known. We have some very hard working students and all they want to do is contribute, all they are missing is a nine digit number."
Tylee said some of the students she works with came here as infants, some as young as two months old, they did not ask to come here, but if they were deported she says they would not know what to do. Some of the students come from mixed status families Tylee said, which means some family members may be citizens, while others are not.
Opponents of the act believe passage of the act would create more incentives for illegal immigrants to sneak into the country.
"The DREAM Act will become an additional magnet for people who want to come to the United States," said former U.S. Attorney Peter Nunez, "They know that their kids will never be deported, it sends the wrong message."
Nunez says we should not be creating incentives for illegal immigration.
"You can't start here until you do something else," Nunez said, referring to his belief that the federal government has to fix the problem of illegal immigration first.
He added that as sympathetic as the young advocates of the DREAM Act are, "there are more principles here, like the principle of law." Nunez says "As long as congress has the law on the books, we shouldn't ignore it."
On Monday night, students and supporters of the act will light up five freeway overpasses with a candlelight vigil from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The following bridges and overpasses will be illuminated to represent the "Bridge to Opportunity":
I-5 Palomar Airport Road Bridge in Carlsbad
Highway 78 Twin Oaks Road Bridge in San Marcos
Gilman Road (near UCSD in La Jolla)
I-5 Park Blvd. Bridge in San Diego
I-5 Sampson St. Bridge in the Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego
Senator Harry Reid plans to introduce the bill for a vote during the upcoming lame-duck session.