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a SUPPORT TAE A student speaks at the UT-Austin DREAM Act rally on Nov. 9 PHOTO BY MELISSA DEL BOSQUE POLITICAL 1111E111G DEPT. OF IMMIGRATION Starving for a Dream LISTEN to DREAM Act students at 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER THANKSGIVING WEEK, WHILE MOST OF US WERE STUFF ing ourselves, eight undocumented students at the University of Texas at Austin joined hundreds of others across the country in a hunger strike. They were willing to starve themselves to push Congress to vote on the DREAM Act, legislation that provides a path to citizenship for undocumented students who attend college or serve in the military. Julie, 30, said that she joined the strike because it was her last hope. She’s supported the bill since it was intro duced in 2001 and has graduated with a master’s degree in nursing from UT-Austin. “I’m a 30-year old woman now, and I’m still undocumented,” she said. “I want to practice as a military nurse, help ing soldiers heal, but I can’t because I don’t have a Social Security number.” The DREAM legislation would cover students up to age 35, like Julie. She saw the current lameduck session of Congress as her last chance. She and the other hunger strikers hoped to convince Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to vote for “We’ve done everything,” Julie said. “We’ve done calls, congressional visits, faxes and letters. We don’t have any more time to waste. Our lives could be decided on by the end of the year.” Every year, an estimated 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school in the United States. Most students were brought to the U.S. by their parents at a young age. Some entered the country without documents; others overstayed visitor visas. At least a million students could become legal residents and eventually citizens if the DREAM Act passed. At press time, it was doubtful that even starvation would move lawmakers to support the students. The legislation, which once had bipartisan support, lost nearly all Republican backing as the debate over immigration reform became increasingly polarized. Hutchison has said she’ll vote against the bill. MELISSA DEL BOSQUE WWW.TEXASOBSERVER.ORG