Who are Europe’s Dreamers?

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Across Europe, millions of young people live in undocumented limbo, in fear of deportation from the countries they grew up in because of hostile migration policies. Now, inspired by their US counterparts, they are fighting for recognition and residency

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The US Dreamers – young people who arrived in the country as children – have spent the past 20 years focused on their fight for the legal right to live, study and work there. In 2012 they secured an intervention from the then president, Barack Obama, who paved the way for their legal status with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) programme. In Europe, populist politicians and the rightwing press still fuel the perception that the undocumented population is a faceless mass of opportunists. It is not well understood that the majority of people without papers are young people, many of whom arrived in Europe as small children, and some were even born there. Now, inspired by their US counterparts, they are fighting for recognition and residency.

The journalist Charlotte Alfred tells Rachel Humphreys about how Europe forces its Dreamers to live in the shadows. Charlotte interviewed Ijeoma Moore who at 15 was put in a detention centre and narrowly avoided deportation three times. A decade on, Moore is still not a UK citizen. She will not officially become British until she turns 33 – 31 years after she arrived in the country and picked up a London accent. The journalist Giacomo Zandonini discusses the case of Luca Neves, who was born in Rome and has always lived there, but for 12 years has been undocumented, trapped by hardline migration laws.

Ijeoma Moore
 Photograph: The Guardian

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