MIAMI, Florida — A group of undocumented students gathered outside a Mitt Romney campaign stop yesterday to protest the former Massachusetts governor’s pledge to veto the DREAM Act if he were elected president.
The DREAM Act would allow certain qualified youth, most of whom were brought here as children, to apply for residency and citizenship in the United States after completing high school and two years of college or the military. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives in December 2010 and received 55 votes in the Senate, but failed due to a Republican filibuster.
Last month, Romney promised an Iowa audience that even if Congress sent the DREAM Act to his desk, he would veto the measure.
The student protestors on Wednesday were outraged by the presidential hopeful’s pledge, which would hinder their future prospects in the country they’d grown up in. Led by Felipe Matos, an aspiring biology teacher who was elected president of the student government at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus and named one of the top 20 community college students in the country, the students chanted, “veto Romney, not the DREAM Act!” and “education, not deportation!”
Watch highlights from the protest:
Ironically, the venue of the event was Miami’s Freedom Tower — “a monument to the Cuban immigrant experience” where “thousands of Cuban exiles were processed when they first entered the United States.” Inside, Romney’s speech focused almost exclusively on bringing “freedom” to Cubans. “I will use the power of America to spread freedom in Latin America,” he said. This apparently does not apply to people who come to the United States from Latin America or elsewhere looking for freedom.