Sonic Trace, KCRW’s storytelling project helmed by independent producer Anayansi Diaz-Cortes, recently teamed up with Which Way, LA? to report a series of stories on the ‘Dream 9.’

The Dream9 successfully crossed into the U.S. — legally — and now await their asylum case hearings. (Photo courtesy of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance.)

The Dream9 successfully crossed into the U.S. — legally — and now await their asylum case hearings. (Photo courtesy of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance.)

The Dream 9 are a group of young students and activists who grew up in the United States and consider it their home. Like the rest of the “dreamers,” they were brought into the United States illegally as children and don’t have legal status or citizenship. Many Dreamers have never been back to their place of birth, and culturally consider themselves American.

Sonic Trace Community producer Brian de Los Santos assembled this primer for the Sonic Trace and WWLA blogs, called ’Five things to know about the Dream 9′s Trajectory.’ It explains the who, what, when where, why, plus what’s next for the Dream 9.

Lizbeth Mateo, a Mexican citizen living in the U.S., self deported and crossed into the country with eight other Dreamers. (Photo by Eric Pearse-Chavez.)

Lizbeth Mateo (Photo by Eric Pearse-Chavez.)

Anayansi Diaz-Cortes produced this story for Which Way, LA? about one of the Dream 9, 29-year-old Lizbeth Mateo.

This past summer, Lizbeth, along with two other Dreamers, voluntarily left the US to return to her native country of Mexico. On July 30th, Lizbeth and the rest of the Dream 9 approached the point of entry in Nogales, Arizona, and asked American officials to let them back in without papers. Lizbeth and the group were then detained until August 8th, when they were released and given political asylum.

Lizbeth Mateo with her brother at her grandmother’s grave in her native village in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Lizbeth Mateo with her brother at her grandmother’s grave in her native village in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Diaz-Cortes also wrote a follow up to Lizbeth’s story, with additional clips of Lizbeth talking to her parents about her activism, and describing what it was like to return to her native country after 15 years.

And to contextualize the story of the Dream 9, and Lizbeth’s personal story, WWLA producer Caitlin Shamberg assembled this timeline, which follows immigration reform dating back to start of the Bracero Program in 1942. The timeline focuses on immigration reform with an eye toward Mexico and Latin America in an effort to tell the story of how the country has tried, and tried again, to find a way to incorporate the (now) 11 million undocumented immigrants into the economic social fabric of American life. Scrolling through history reveals just how much immigration policy has (and hasn’t) changed. With Congress in a deadlock over almost everything, it’s hard to see what happens next.

 

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