A student-sponsored Support the DREAM Act Prayer Vigil will be held from noon – 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7, at the Cesar Chavez Monument in the Peace Garden at California State University, Fresno while student body president Pedro Ramirez visits Washington, D.C., this week to advocate for passage of the legislation, which could face a Senate vote Wednesday.
At the vigil, planned by the K Style student organization, plans include a moment of silence for the late Bishop John T. Steinbock, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, who died Sunday. He was a champion of immigrant causes, said student Arcadia Nunez, who is helping plan the event. Father Michael McAndrew, coordinator of the Multicultural/Campesino Ministry for the diocese, will be among guests who will lead the prayers and offer comments.
In Washington, Ramirez will participate Wednesday in the National Day of Action called by various immigration reform advocates and he has been invited to meet with Sen. Barbara Boxer and the Center for American Progress. Other visits are being scheduled.
He also will represent the California State Student Association, which consists of student body presidents from throughout the 23-campus system. The CSSA, representing 443,000 students, recently endorsed the DREAM Act. Last week, the Associated Students, Inc. Senate at Fresno State approved a resolution supporting the DREAM Act.
In November, Ramirez acknowledged he is an undocumented immigrant and his situation ignited worldwide attention putting a human face on the DREAM Act. The legislation would provide a path to citizenship for young people who were not responsible for immigrating illegally to this country and who want to go to college or join the military.
He is being accompanied by Fresno immigration attorney Jessica Smith Bobadilla, who has offered her services on a volunteer basis for Ramirez, and Olgalilia Ramirez, CSSA’s director of Government Relations.
Boxer read a statement on the Senate floor acknowledging Ramirez’s situation in support of the DREAM Act. Fresno State President John D. Welty sent a letter supporting the legislation and to Boxer.
The National Day of Action encourages DREAM act supporters to hold vigils in cities and towns across the country for immigrant youth on Dec. 7.
For more information about the vigil, contact Raúl Z. Moreno, coordinator of University Migrant Services at 559.278.5750.