San Francisco Giants pitcher Sergio Romo, a first-generation Mexican-American who played an instrumental role in helping the Giants win the 2012 World Series, last week released a video on Major League Baseball’s YouTube page announcing his support for the Dream Is Now campaign that is pushing Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for roughly 2 million undocumented students, and comprehensive immigration reform.
“When I hear of a student being undocumented, I take it as kids going to school and trying to learn to get better. I don’t see any negative in that,” Romo said. “They deserve a chance to live their dream, and we all win if they do.”
The Dream Is Now campaign produced a 30-minute video that follows the stories of multiple undocumented students who have never known life outside the United States, including one whose undocumented status prevented him from joining the Marines. Another student featured works in construction despite his degree because he can’t pursue a career as an engineer, while another was nearly deported weeks before her high school graduation even as she had been accepted to study medicine at the University of Michigan. The video also tells the story of a student who had dreams of becoming a civil engineer but committed suicide because his undocumented status made applying to college so difficult. Two days later, his family received his acceptance letter.
The DREAM Act came within five votes of passing the U.S. Senate in 2010 and has not been revived since. Many of the students that sought its passage were aided by President Obama’s deferred action decision in 2012, which gave students and graduates the ability to apply for temporary legal status. The DREAM Act provision would provide a permanent solution through a path to citizenship and was included in the Senate Gang of 8’s comprehensive immigration reform legislation, which the Senate Judiciary Committee approved on May 21.
Romo made headlines in October for wearing a t-shirt at the Giants’ World Series victory parade that read, “I just look illegal.” At the celebration, he praised San Francisco for accepting “different folks with different strokes” and “different faces from different places, “ and he has also donned a t-shirt that reads, “Made In The USA With Mexican Parts.”
And though he is an American citizen, Romo has felt the wrath of America’s broken and discriminatory immigration system. Romo played in the World Baseball Classic for Team Mexico this winter, when he told Yahoo! Sports that police had asked him for documentation during trips in Arizona, which passed its discriminatory anti-immigrant law SB 1070 in 2010. “I’ve been pulled over numerous times, driving a nice car,” Romo said. “The first question is: What’s your citizenship? The second question: Is this your car? And then: What do you do for a living? And it’s like, ‘Bro, you’re Mexican just like me.’ ‘Ah, but I was born here.’ And I say, ‘So was I.’ “