President Obama has said that this year there will be some much needed comprehensive immigration reform in the United States. What this means exactly remains to be seen. The Dream Act is one of the topics that is currently being debated in Washington, and for Julio Salgado and Marco Antonio Flores that Dream needs to become a reality.“I came to this country in 1995 legally, but I was forced to overstay my welcome because my sister became ill,” Salgado says. “In order for my family and I to fix our statuses we had to go back to Mexico. My sister was in the hospital and we could not just leave here. Our visas just expired.”
Julio Salgado is the co-founder of DreamersAdrift.com. His status as an undocumented. queer activist has fueled the contents of his Illustrations, which depict key individuals and moments of the DREAM Act movement. Undocumented students and allies across the country have used Salgado’s artwork to call attention to the youth-led movement. Salgado graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a degree in journalism.Flores came to the United States because his family simply wanted a better life for themselves.“I grew up here my whole life, this is what I know,” Flores says. “At first I was scared to get involved with the Dream Act because I was afraid that if people knew I was undocumented, I would get separated from my family.”
He graduated in 2012 with a degree in Gender and Women’s Studies, and is currently a Judith Lee Stronach Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. He was born in Mexico, but grew up in Southern California. Marco is interested in pursuing a ‘theory in praxis’ between his community activism and scholarly practice by engaging in creative forms of self-expression. Though both men believe the Dream Act will present a lot of opportunities for students, they also do not want it to be a reason for families to get separated.“We do not want there to be some sort of clause in the Dream Act that separates families from each other.” Salgado says. “We are working with activists to make sure this does not happen.”“We have been portrayed as criminals by the media, which has led many to believe that passing the Dream Act will only harm this country. We must find a way to end that,” Salgado added.The Dream Act is not the only issue that concerns Salgado and Flores. Both men are homosexuals and are working on making their lifestyle more accepted.
“One of the other reasons why I was afraid of being sent to Mexico was because of the country’s attitude towards homosexuality,” Flores says. “I was afraid they would not accept me over there.”
Both men use art and other forms of media to show people why their lifestyle should not be condemned.