The "struggle" illegal immigrants face as they seek the same benefits and services afforded to U.S. citizens is the same that faced civil right activists in the middle of the 20th century, according to the Associated Press.
"Students fighting laws that target illegal immigrants are taking a page from the civil rights era," reporter Rusell Contreras wrote, "adopting tactics and gathering praise and momentum from the demonstrators who marched in the streets and sat at segregated lunch counters as they sought to turn the public tide against racial segregation."
Contreras cited several illegal immigrant activists comparing themselves to protestors of the civil rights era. He compared the fact that undocumented students "don't qualify for federal financial aid and can't get in-state tuition rates in some places" to the segregation of black and Mexican-American students in the 1950s.
Contreras referred to the "fighting" methods illegal college students are using to promote the DREAM Act, a federal bill that would grant legal status to illegal immigrants who obtain a college degree or serve in the military and meet other conditions.
College students in particular are using protest strategies which were championed in the civil rights era to further their cause.
"Their struggle then is ours now. Like it was for them, this is about survival for us. We have no choice," said Deivid Ribeiro, an illegal immigrant from Brazil. Contreras also quoted University of Massachusetts professor Amilcar Shabazz, who called the strategy "genius" and said by attaching themselves to the civil rights movement, illegal immigrant students "can claim the moral high ground and underdog status of the debate."
Contreras didn't offer any opposing viewpoint, which may have pointed out that civil right protestors sought equal treatment for minority Americans, whereas illegal immigrants are seeking the rights and privileges afforded to American citizens and those who immigrated through legal channels.