South Cobbers to Rally to Stop Pebblebrook Alum's Deportation
South Cobb supporters and others from around the state plan to rally this morning to prevent the deportation of Jesus Cruz, a 2010 Pebblebrook graduate.
The fate of one Pebblebrook High alumnus will be sealed on Monday at 9 a.m. when a judge decides whether he will be allowed to remain in the United States, where he has spent the last nine years, or if he will be deported back to Mexico, where he was born.
At 8 a.m., immediately before the immigration hearing, supporters plan to rally and hold a press conference in an effort to stop 20-year-old Jesus Cruz from being deported.
In August 2011, Cobb County Police arrested Cruz for driving without a license. As an undocumented resident, he cannot legally obtain a driver’s license in Georgia.
Cruz was transferred to Stewart Detention Center, placed under an ICE hold and released once his family raised enough money for his $7,500 bond.
If deported, Cruz will be separated from his mother and siblings who live in South Cobb.
The DREAM Activist Network asked supporters to petition call and email Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
Members of the organization argue that Cruz is DREAM Act-eligible and cannot be deported.
The DREAM Act, bipartisan legislation supported by the Obama Administration but not passed by Congress, would create a path to citizenship for undocumented residents. Under the act, undocumented residents could stay in the country if they meet four main requirements, which are:
a) entering the United States before the age of 16,
b) five years of continuous presence in the U.S.,
c) graduating high school or receiving a GED,
d) and having good moral character and no criminal record.
During the first six years, undocumented residents who are DREAM Act-eligible would be granted a conditional resident status. However, after that time and upon the completion of two years of college or military service, undocumented residents could apply for permanent resident status.
In October, President Barack Obama announced that deportation cases would be heard on a case-by-case basis and non-criminal or "low-priority" undocumented residents would be eligible for permanent residency and work permits. Additionally, in what is now called the Morton Memo, Morton suggested ICE officials consider DREAM Act eligibility when prosecuting or deporting aliens.
Obama's announcement came as a reaction to harsh criticism from many Latino groups who point out that Obama's support of immigration reform is not reflected in the deportation numbers. In 2010, the Obama deported 393,000 people, with an overall record far exceeding those deported during George W. Bush's presidency, according to the Huffington Post.
However, Cruz supporters argue that his deportation would contradict both Obama's announcement and the Morton Memo.
While Georgia’s state Senate recently passed Senate Bill 458, which would bar all undocumented residents from attending any public college or university in Georgia, California recently passed its own version of the DREAM Act and colleges such as the University of California at Berkeley have created DREAM scholarships.