Eloy and the Dream 9

Credit: Steve Pavey. Courtesy of: The Dream 9, 2013, Hope in Focus Photography, stevepavey.comhttp://latinousa.org/2015/10/16/meet-the-dream-9/

Written by - Krista Clark

In 2013, the Dream 9, a group of activists working with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, gained national recognition after they willingly returned to Mexico to cross back into the U.S. illegally(1). While activists are not the most representative group for immigrants currently facing detention in the U.S., their story vocalizes the struggles of many detained immigrants across the nation. They also have a local connection to Arizona by being held in Eloy Detention Center, one of the most notorious detention centers for suicides(2). The Dream 9 were only held in detention for 17 days, but that was enough time for one activist, Maria Ines Peniche, to feel the effects of solitary confinement – a major contributor to suicides. She describes her first few days in solitary: “…the first day was fine, the second day I was starting to feel numb…[on the third day] when I knew there was no way out, then it just became a reality…I was just afraid…”(3) Many immigrants being held in detention centers face similar situations each day, but cannot tell their stories. Through their activism, the Dream 9 sought to be a medium through which a national audience could learn of immigrants’ lives in detention.