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Dreamers at the Border (New

On Monday, thirty-six people walked north from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to the Laredo port of entry, in Texas, seeking political asylum. Most wore caps and gowns, and chanted a two-word refrain (“Undocumented, unafraid”), in English, as they converged on the bridge leading to the U.S. Two things were true of nearly everyone in the crowd: they were stranded in Mexico after having been deported from the U.S. or denied reëntry, and they had, at some point, attended school in the States. Many were nearing middle-school or high-school graduation when they were forced to leave—hence the commencement garb.

“These are students. That’s the kind of person in need here,” said twenty-seven-year-old Mohammad Abdollahi, the Iranian-born, Michigan-bred leader of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, or N.I.Y.A., which coordinated the “border action.” N.I.Y.A.’s core is comprised of so-called Dreamers, immigrants who have grown up in the U.S. and consider it home, but who were born elsewhere and still lack legal papers.

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