Undocumented Activists Take a Giant Risk to Return Home

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 A historic border crossing took place Monday, not under the cover of darkness or through a desert wilderness but in broad daylight near the Nogales border patrol station with thousands of supporters on the United States and Mexico sides cheering.

Nine people, all transnational activists working with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA), are now being held at the Florence Detention Center in Arizona after petitioning to enter the U.S. on humanitarian grounds. This is the first time a group of longtime U.S. residents who are technically Mexican nationals have attempted to return to the states by petitioning for humanitarian parole. Monday’s action attracted more than 10,000 viewers from around the world who tuned into a Ustream live feed to see what would become of the so-called Dream 9.

At around 1:30 p.m. EDT, the nine crossers gathered for a final press opportunity in Nogales, Mexico, before taking a short walk to dividing line between the United States and Mexico. Eight people had originally planned to participate but Rosie Rojas, who said she traveled for three days to meet them, joined the action at the last minute.

Among the nine activists was 22-year-old Adriana Diaz who was brought to Phoenix, Ariz., from Mexico when she was just four months old. Diaz graduated high school with honors in 2010 but decided to go to Mexico last year because of the fear she felt living under Sheriff Joe Arpaio. She attempted to attend college there but the country doesn’t recognize her U.S. diploma. Had she waited just three months, she could have been eligible to stay in the U.S. under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Read more here.