Award-winning Investigative Journalist Robert Parry (1949-2018)

Award-winning investigative journalist and founder/editor of, Robert Parry has passed away. His ground-breaking work uncovering Reagan-era dirty wars in Central America and many other illegal and immoral policies conducted by successive administrations and U.S. intelligence agencies, stands as an inspiration to all in journalists working in the public interest.

Robert had been a regular guest on our Between The Lines and Counterpoint radio shows -- and many other progressive outlets across the U.S. over four decades.

His penetrating analysis of U.S. foreign policy and international conflicts will be sorely missed, and not easily replaced. His son Nat Parry writes a tribute to his father: Robert Parry’s Legacy and the Future of Consortiumnews.

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Apart from Obama's Executive Order, Young Undocumented Immigrants Continue Struggle for Path to Citizenship

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Posted June 20, 2012

excerpt of talk by Lorella Praeli, recorded and produced by Melinda Tuhus


On June 18, two dozen Latino high school and college students filled a small conference room at Yale University Law School to hear some of their peers discuss President Obama's June 15 executive order halting the deportation of undocumented immigrants between the ages of 16 and 30. Specifically, the president’s directive effects immigrants without a green card who were brought to the U.S. by their parents, who've lived here continuously for at least five years, have no criminal record and are in school, in the military or are veterans. The executive order also makes these individuals eligible for working papers for the first time. The so-called "grant of deferred action" is valid for two years and can be renewed, but it does not establish a path to citizenship and is not law, so it can be reversed by any future president.

One of the speakers at the Yale Law School gathering was Lorella Praeli, an undocumented Peruvian immigrant who, like all the young people who call themselves Dreamers, considers herself more American than anything else. The DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for young people brought to the U.S. as children, has been introduced in Congress every year since 2001, and in 2010 came within a few votes of passage.

Praeli is a leader of both Connecticut Students for a Dream and a member of the United We Dream National Coordinating Committee. In this talk recorded by Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus, she tells a bit of her personal story and gives a behind the scenes look at the strategy the Dreamers employed in targeting President Obama's campaign offices.

LORELLA PRAELI: These are the faces of the people that will benefit from this: the people that this really makes a difference to. I want to thank Lucas, but I want to say the reason I do what I do – which is fight every day and trying to change as many lives as possible to join the fight – is because I have a very clear understanding that nothing changes if we are not involved, that nothing changes if we are not asking for it. So, my name is Lorella Praeli. I am undocumented. I am from Peru, and when I had a car accident when I was 2-1/2. My family sought medical treatment here in the U.S. For many years, we traveled back and forth between Tampa and Peru, and my family decided to settle in the state of Connecticut when I was 10 years old. At that point, I went to middle school here, graduated from New Milford High School, got a full ride at Quinnipiac University, and graduated last year with a degree in political science and sociology.

Back in 2010, many of us were a little heartbroken. Many of us looked at the DREAM Act, in Washington, D.C., and since then, everyone said nothing can happen in the next three to five years. Nothing can really happen. In Washington, D.C. three months ago, we had progressives telling us to just take it slow, to not put too much pressure on President Obama, because it was an election year. And I am part of CT Students for a Dream, but also part of the United We Dream network, which is the national organization that organizes youth in 37 organizations in 25 states. We had a very different idea of what it would mean to actually change something in the U.S. and bring some action into the immigrant rights movement, and that meant shifting the focus from Congress, where we know there's a lot of Republican obstructionism at the moment, and focusing on the executive (branch). And so the Yale Law School – I want to recognize them for a second because they were one of our strongest allies, going in and meeting with people at the White House, and really pushing for this. Lawyers played a very important role in breaking down the legal objection. Individuals are confused, right, some people are saying legally, this is not possible, and they did all the work to prove that legally, this was possible, alongside 96 law professors in the country.

But that aside, after recognizing it, this is a victory of the youth, the immigrant rights movement, the DREAM movement in the U.S. At a moment when no one thought we could do this, that we were too young, that we didn't have enough experience, that we didn't have policy people as part of our staff in United We Dream. We proved this country wrong. The U.S. is ready to recognize us. It's ready to integrate us one step farther, but we celebrate with caution. We celebrate with caution because this is not a permanent solution, because it is up to everyone in this room, and everyone listening and reading all the news from here, for us to actually get a permanent solution – it is not enough just with the Dreamers, that it is also our parents, it is the friends that we know, the people who are working really hard and contributing in many ways, and are not being recognized.

So, I just want to say what a moment and what a great victory this has been. The last few months, and especially the last week, has been crazy for me, traveling back and forth to D.C. and making sure that our voices are heard, that we're not taken for granted, and our dreams are valued, respected and now one step made possible. So thank you for being here, thank you for your courage. Diego was the first person I called – we found out around midnight the night before – and the only person I wanted to call at that moment was Diego. I remembered meeting with him and I told him, "You have to hold on because we're working on this national campaign." And he goes, "Lorella, I already decided." And I'm really pushy, to be really frank, I'm a really pushy person. And I'm like, "Diego, you have to wait, because it's coming, it's gonna happen, and it was all about hope. It was all about hope and a lot of hard work." And I called Diego and had a real emotional moment, because I thought, here's someone who's been here since he was 8, who's graduated from high school in the state of Connecticut, and who's basically thought that this country – where we hear you can do anything, you can be anyone – has failed him. And I think Friday is a big testament to the exact opposite of that. The world is yours, and it belongs to all of us to take on this opportunity and to bring real change to the immigrant community, to the lives in the state of Connecticut and in other parts of this country. Thank you so, so much. (Applause)

Find information about the United We Dream National Coordinating Committee at

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