Undocumented Pinoys complete Dream Summer program

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Aug 28 2013 02:58 PM | Updated as of Aug 28 2013 10:58 PM

LOS ANGELES - It's like Summer school for the undocumented and close to 100 youths passed with flying colors.

As they celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, which spares certain undocumented youths from deportation, Dreamers from the UCLA Labor Center's Dream Summer Program celebrated their new found education and advocacy.

"The idea is they would gain skills that would help them in the workforce but also a way for them to lead the immigration fight," said Cat Eusebio, Coordinator for the LA Dream Summer.

The 10-week program which takes place throughout the country allows the once undocumented youths to learn more about the immigration reform issues while helping others find services.

"I'm a dreamer and I feel like I have to take initiative of my status or else it will overcome me," said Madison Villanueva.

In the past year since DACA began, numbers show that Asian Americans have had a low turnout. Leaders believe part of that is fear from parents, and the reluctance of some immigrant communities to join the immigration reform movement, an attitude these young Filipinos hope to change.

"It's just something that we need if we don't come out, especially the API undocumented, if we don't come out we're not going to be included in the debate that's been seen as a Latino issue when it's a global issue," said Charles Sanchez.

Villanueva added, "We just don't want to be victims of our immigration status".

Mayor Eric Garcetti was unable to attend their event. However, he opened the doors to Los Angeles City Hall as his Office of Immigrant Affairs joined the youth.

"To our dreamers, you too are the future of our city and this country and you too will be making huge systemic changes that will affect thousands. Thank you for continuing to put yourselves out there," said Linda Lopez of the Mayor's Office Of Immigrant Affairs.

Some councilmen joined the youth and say they have also helped support the cause by hiring dreamers to join their staffs.

While the Dream Summer is going strong in its third year, the immigrant community is still chasing a bigger dream for their families by continuing to the fight for the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill currently in Congress.