The Dream 9 are going home

Women of the Dream 9 in graduation attire walking and hugging

The women of the Dream 9 shortly after being released (Credit: Fronterasdesk.org)

Last night across my social media platforms I started seeing the news, and I am super delighted to confirm that the Dream 9 have been released and are going home!

The young activists, who crossed the border near Nogales with the purpose of entering detention to organize and demand humanitarian parole, were denied parole on humanitarian grounds but were later able to establish credible fear that returning to Mexico would result in harm or death. They were released from Eloy Detention Center late last night, and are eligible to stay in the country until their asylum hearings.

Though this is a huge victory for these young activists and the movement that supported them and demanded their release, the action took a heavy toll on the young activists. Several of the activists were placed in solitary confinement after distributing a legal hotline to the female detainees and beginning a hunger strike to protest conditions, one of whom had to be placed on suicide watch and was sedated after several days in solitary.

During their time inside they were able to document conditions and get testimony from detainees. The Dream 9 – five of whom are women – put much on the line to get this information and to test whether humanitarian parole could be a resource for long-term undocumented U.S. residents. The fact that they are now safely on their way home is a huge testament to the resilience of undocumented young people and the strength and power of their movement.

New York, NY

Verónica Bayetti Flores has spent the last years of her life living and breathing reproductive justice. She has led national policy and movement building work on the intersections of immigrants' rights, health care access, young parenthood, and LGBTQ liberation, and has worked to increase access to contraception and abortion, fought for paid sick leave, and demanded access to safe public space for queer youth of color. In 2008 Verónica obtained her Master’s degree in the Sexuality and Health program at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She loves cooking, making art, listening to music, and thinking about the ways art forms traditionally seen as feminine are valued and devalued. In addition to writing for Feministing, she is currently spending most of her time doing policy work to reduce the harms of LGBTQ youth of color's interactions with the police and making sure abortion care is accessible to all regardless of their income.

Verónica is a queer immigrant writer, activist, and rabble-rouser.

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