The Rev. Leonard Busch, pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, touted their efforts at a recent immigration forum.
“These are the heroes of our day,” Busch said. “They have worked very hard for the case of the Dream Act. Little by little, we are seeing progress.”
The Dream Act is federal legislation that has been proposed for at least a decade. It passed the U.S. House in 2010 but failed in the Senate by five votes.
Medina was in the Capitol as the votes were being cast.
“Five votes. Five votes,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. That was the most difficult part of this. I saw senators laughing on the floor when casting no votes, being disrespectful. I didn’t think I could do this anymore. I was completely drained and had no motivation.”
The legislation has been reintroduced and is pending.
Medina did get her fight back. She and Hughart do not see the legislation as the end game.
“Advocacy will not stop with the Dream Act passing,” Hughart said. “There is still a long road after that.”
The proposed act includes a narrow eligibility with an age limit of 30, specific date of entrance to the country and requirements for completing school, military work or employment.
“The Dream Act is still for a small amount of people,” Medina said. “We will continue to fight for the others — the ones who got here yesterday or will arrive tomorrow. There are people older than 30 who worked for the Dream Act for 10 years and now no longer qualify. We need to fight for them.”
Though some people assume the two are immigrants, Medina and Hughart were born and raised in America.
Medina’s parents emigrated from Mexico more than 30 years ago. Hughart’s mother arrived from Mexico as a child with her family and her father is white with a family immigrating to the U.S. several generations ago.
“It’s an interesting life being biracial,” Hughart said. “I practice my tactics on my family. This takes education.”
The two will be going in different directions next year.
Medina finished a liberal arts degree at TCC and will be attending the University of Oklahoma to pursue a public relations degree. Hughart earned a sociology degree from the University of Tulsa and will be working toward a master’s degree.