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Amid celebration, students take a stand

WASHINGTON - While partygoers in ball gowns and tuxedoes hurried by, about ten people stood on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and First Street, right outside of Union Station, in the cold night air.

"Si, se puede!" they chanted - the slogan coined by Cesar Chavez and adopted by the Obama campaign in its English form: "Yes, we can!"

VyVy Trinh '11 and Crystal Vance '11 had traveled with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights from Chicago to Washington for the inauguration - and to protest for the reform of current immigration policy.

"It's been so inspiring," Trinh said. "All these people are here not just for Obama-mania.... All these people are really passionate and excited like everyone else, but determined to help be part of change."

Over 60 participants traveled to Washington from Illinois, and thousands more from other organizations plan to gather today at 11 a.m., according to Trinh and Mehrdad Azemun, the Illinois Coalition's organizing director.

Azemun said they planned a procession to the D.C. headquarters of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "We are going to cleanse the agency of eight years of bad policy," he said.

The group demanded that immigration policy reform be a priority during Obama's administration, Vance said.

Trinh said one of the issues she feels most passionately about is providing a path to citizenship for undocumented youth. She and Vance are both members of a Brown student group that advocates making higher education more accessible to undocumented immigrants. They would like to see the University publish instructions on how to apply to Brown without a Social Security Number, Trinh said.


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