ATLANTA -- Seven college-age Latinos gathered in downtown Atlanta and passed around a microphone, announcing to the world that they were coming out of the shadows as illegal immigrants.
Then, in an act of civil disobedience, they sat down in the middle of a busy street and announced it again to a large and chanting crowd. When they were hauled off to jail, they even declared their status to a pair Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers -- who proceeded to do nothing.
After a night in jail, the seven were free again on April 6, clutching misdemeanor tickets issued by the city for blocking traffic.
So what, one might ask, does it take for an illegal immigrant to get deported in the United States of 2011?
That turns out to be a good question, particularly for immigrants who, like the Georgia youths, call themselves "the Dreamers" -- that is, immigrants who might have achieved legal status through the federal DREAM Act.
The legislation would have offered a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States at a young age, had lived here for at least five years, and enrolled in college or served in the military.