Protestors Rally Outside Arizona Republican Presidential Debate In Support Of The DREAM Act

MESA, Arizona — Approximately 40 undocumented students and supporters rallied outside the Arizona Republican presidential debate on Wednesday to protest the candidates’ opposition to the DREAM Act.

The DREAM Act would allow certain youth to apply for residency and citizenship after graduating from high school and completing two years of college or the military. It passed the House of Representatives in 2010 and received a majority of votes in the Senate, but failed due to a Republican filibuster.

All four remaining GOP presidential contenders oppose the DREAM Act for undocumented students. (Newt Gingrich supports it only for those who enter the military.) Most notably, Mitt Romney pledged to veto the DREAM Act if elected president.

ThinkProgress spoke with a few of the protestors in-between chants of “veto Romney, not the DREAM Act!” and “up, up with education, down, down with deportation”. Erika Andiola singled out Newt Gingrich for criticism, saying that as “an undocumented person, I don’t want to serve the country in the military, I want to serve this country as a lawyer.” Dulce Matuz told ThinkProgress about the difficulty she endured enrolling at Arizona State University as an undocumented student. Though she’d lived in Arizona for years, her immigration status precluded her from paying the normal in-state tuition rate of $2,500 per semester; instead, her and her family were charged $8,500 per semester.

Watch highlights from the rally: