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By: José Rico
My name is Jose Rico and I am a Community College student here in North Carolina. In fact, I have been a community college student for the past five years. Why so long? As an undocumented student, I do not qualify for in-state tuition nor am I eligible to receive any federal financial aid. Wanna know the whole spiel, read it here:
The UNC-System also has a similar policy, which you can read here:
Now, has it always been this way? The answer is No. At the community college level, the policies for undocumented students has changed five times over the last decade*. At one time, each college adopted each own policy, some of them even banned undocumented students. Here at the North Carolina Dream Team, we have advocated for educational opportunities and tuition equity since our founding. In fact, our very first action was a hunger strike in May 2010 to push Senator Kay Hagan to co-sponsor the Dream Act. The result? She voted against it.
As of right now, there are 12 states in the Untied States that have their own versions of the Dream Act. North Carolina, is still keeping undocumented students like me in the shadows, and allow schools like Wake Tech to implement policies that are keeping us “at the back of the bus” when it comes to registration. Here is an email sent by the admissions office at Wake Technical Community College:
If you notice, this email was sent to all the students identified by Wake Tech to be undocumented. If you look closely you’ll see that this was sent for the registration period for the Spring of 2013. Classes for the Spring began on January 7th, but the college forces all undocumented students to register a week after classes had begun. Most of the time this limits us from registering for any math or physics courses or classes for which a professional license will be needed to work at the end of the program of study; like a nursing degree. THESE POLICIES ARE UNJUST, UNFAIR AND DISCRIMINATORY.
We must take a stand, so join us one more time to ask for in-state-tuition to ALL North Carolina students.
Where? Wake Technical Community College, Main Campus, 9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, NC
When? Thursday, August 15th, 2013 @ 2:00pm
NC Dream Team
*As of Monday, August 5th, NCCCS have opted to once again change their policy to allow DACA youth to register at the same time as all the other students; still leaving undocumented youth behind and charging both DACA and non-DACA students out-of-state tuition.
La marcha sigue en pie! Nos vemos mañana, Martes, afuera de las oficinas del Departamento de Transportacion. Mas detalles:
Cuando: Martes, 22 de Enero a las 9am
Donde: 1 S. Wilmington St. Raleigh, NC
*Bring your banners, caps and gowns, and matracas.
**Parking: Street parking or on-site parking decks at 120 S. Wilmington St. and also 115 S. Wilmington St. ($2/hour).
Para mas informacion, favor de contactar a:
Jacki Aguilar: 919-395-8458
Jose Rico: 919-802-0508
After weeks of going back and forth on the recent change in policy by the DMV to not grant drivers licenses to immigrant youth that benefit from President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), it has become evident that the NC Department of Transportation does not intend to change back its policy. They will continue to hold our drivers licenses hostage.
Only weeks ago, the DMV stated that they would stop issuing drivers licenses until they heard from the opinion of Attorney General Roy Cooper. Late last week, Cooper issued a statement explaining that DACA beneficiaries not only hold legal presence, but that the state is required to issue us driver licenses:
“It is therefore our opinion that individuals who have been granted deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy directive are lawfully present in the United States during the period of deferment. As such, N.C. Gen. Stat. 20-7(s), which states that DMV shall issue a drivers license of limited duration to person who present valid documentation demonstrating deferment and meet all other statutory requirements, requires that such licenses be issued.”
Following Attorney General Cooper’s clarification, US Citizen & Immigration Services (USCIS) also issued a formal statement in regards to driver licenses for DACA recipients:
“Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. For purposes of future inadmissibility based upon unlawful presence, an individual whose case has been deferred is not considered to be unlawfully present during the period in which deferred action is in effect. An individual who has received deferred action is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to be present in the United States, and is therefore considered by DHS to be lawfully present during the period deferred action is in effect.”
According to recent USCIS data, as of this month there are 14,777 immigrant youth that were given deferred action in the state of North Carolina.
However, it has become apparent to us that our state’s Department of Transportation does not care much for these clarifications. They continue to discriminate DACA youth and have given no sign of changing back the DMV policy that keeps us from obtaining a driver license. They have also found an ally in their bullying of immigrant youth with Lt. Governor Dan Forest.
A recent statement given by NC Lt. Governor Dan Forest expresses:
“A person entering the United States illegally should not be afforded the privileges reserved for US citizens..”
This is yet another attack on us. You and I have a choice to make: Will we remain silent or fight back?
Here’s what we need to do:
1. Sign the petition and make calls:
2. Come to the protest organized by local immigrant youth TOMORROW:
When: Tuesday, January 22 @ 9am
Where: 1 S Wilmington St. Raleigh, NC
*Bring your banners, caps and gowns, and matracas.
**Parking: Street parking or on-site parking decks at 120 S. Wilmington St. and also 115 S. Wilmington St. ($2/hour).
For more info on the protest please contact:
Jacki Aguilar: 919-395-8458
Jose Rico: 919-802-0508
See you there!
On July 30, Lorena walked into the Alamance County Time Warner Cable office to apply for cable service. The representative who assisted her asked her to complete some paperwork and to present a form of identification. The representative went to her office for several minutes telling Lorena she was making copies of the paperwork. Finally, the representative came out and returned the I.D. and asked Lorena to pay for the deposit and first month of services. As soon as Lorena paid, a police officer came from the back room and arrested her. She was taken to Alamance County Jail and was then transferred to ICE custody and placed in deportation proceedings. She is scheduled to appear in court on December 13 and could be given a final order of deportation.
Is it Time Warner Cable’s policy to work with Alamance County law enforcement to entrap undocumented people so they can be arrested and deported? Recent findings by the Department of Justice show that Sheriff Terry Johnson and his department have engaged in egregious discriminatory practices against Latinos living in Alamance County. Why is Lorena facing deportation and separation from her 7 year old daughter when all she wanted was cable service?
Tell Time Warner Cable’s President Jack Stanley to stop collaborating with Alamance County law enforcement and stop targeting immigrants who want cable service @ 336-665-0160 or sent him an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lorena came to the United States in 2004 and has been living in North Carolina for the past 8 years. She is a single mother of a 7 year old U.S. citizen child. If Lorena is deported, her daughter will be separated from the only person who provides her with emotional and financial support. Most importantly, her daughter will be left without a mother to care for her.
According to the Morton Memo, Lorena is a low-priority case and should be granted favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Lorena has been living in the U.S. for 8 years, has a 7 year old U.S. citizen daughter. Lorena only went to the Time Warner Cable’s store to get cable service for her family. Instead, a police officer came out from the office and arrested her. Why is this company working with the police to target undocumented immigrants? Lorena needs to stay in the U.S. to continue to provide for her daughter.
Help Lorena by calling ICE director John Morton at 202-732-300 and signing her petition online: http://action.dreamactivist.org/northcarolina/lorena/
image by S. Pavey
Since June 2010, the Department of Justice announced its investigation on “allegations of discriminatory policing and unconstitutional searches and seizures.” Today, September 18th, 2012 this very investigation has reached its climax by publishing its findings. Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson has in his part repeatedly denied such claims.
Among these findings, these practices are found:
ACSO deputies target Latino drivers for traffic stops;
A study of ACSO’s traffic stops on three major county roadways found that deputies were between four and 10 times more likely to stop Latino drivers than non-Latino drivers;
ACSO deputies routinely locate checkpoints just outside Latino neighborhoods, forcing residents to endure police checks when entering or leaving their communities;
ACSO practices at vehicle checkpoints often vary based on a driver’s ethnicity. Deputies insist on examining identification of Latino drivers, while allowing drivers of other ethnicities to pass through without showing identification;
ACSO deputies arrest Latinos for minor traffic violations while issuing citations or warnings to non-Latinos for the same violations;
ACSO uses jail booking and detention practices, including practices related to immigration status checks, that discriminate against Latinos;
The sheriff and ACSO’s leadership explicitly instruct deputies to target Latinos with discriminatory traffic stops and other enforcement activities;
The sheriff and ACSO leadership foster a culture of bias by using anti-Latino epithets; and
ACSO engages in substandard reporting and monitoring practices that mask its discriminatory conduct.
We, the NC Dream Team, have been approached by many community members in Alamance County because of these practices, and most of the time we found ourselves working on individual cases of family members detained in this county by checkpoints, driving without a license, or simply driving while brown. Alamance County is one of seven counties in North Carolina that have 287(g) programs. This program is one of several ICE ACCESS (Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security) programs, “which provides local law enforcement agencies an opportunity to team with ICE to combat specific challenges in their communities.” However, as we can see in the case of Alamance County, these programs do far from “combating the challenges in our communities;” in fact, they do quiet the opposite by separating our families from their loved ones, subjecting them to mistreatment in violation of their civil rights, and in many cases having them locked up in detention centers for long periods of times before deporting them. Members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, our umbrella organization, have some findings on this very topic after infiltrating an immigration detention facility.
Furthermore, the Department of Homeland Security released today a statement terminating its 287(g) program in Alamance County:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is troubled by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) findings of discriminatory policing practices within the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO). Discrimination undermines law enforcement and erodes the public trust. DHS will not be a party to such practices. Accordingly, and effective immediately, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is terminating ACSO’s 287(g) jail model agreement and is restricting their access to the Secure Communities program. ICE will utilize federal resources for the purpose of identifying and detaining those individuals who meet ICE immigration enforcement priorities. The Department will continue to enforce federal immigration laws in Alamance County in smart, effective ways that focus our resources on criminal aliens, recent border crossers, repeat and egregious immigration law violators and employers who knowingly hire illegal labor.
We are pleased to see the release of these findings by the DOJ and the decision taken by DHS in terminating 287 (g), but we are unimpressed. We still have 6 other counties in North Carolina that have this program and ALL COUNTIES in our state have Secure Communities, which is another type of ICE ACCESS program. Meanwhile, we still keep receiving word from families being detained for minor traffic violations; such as having a broken tail-light or being encountered by check-points organized by local police.
The Obama administration needs to come forth and terminate 287(g) in ALL COUNTIES in North Carolina and take policies like Secure Communities away. It is completely unacceptable for the Obama administration to keep empowering agencies and agents, like Alamance County’s Sheriff Terry Johnson, that keep our communities insecure.
For the full report from DOJ visit: http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/171201291812462488198.pdf
July 30, 2012
Contact: Cynthia Martinez
NC Activist Infiltrates Florida Detention Center to Prove Bad Policies Continue
Organizing inside jail, Viridiana fights deportations from inside prison
CHARLOTTE—The North Carolina Dream Team will hold a press conference today outside the OFA office in Charlotte, NC (301 East 9th St., Charlotte) to discuss our internal review of Broward Transitional Center in Broward, Florida. Undocumented NIYA activists placed themselves inside the detention center in order to find people that should have been released as low-priority cases or by the new deferred action policy.
WHEN: July 31st 11 A.M.
WHERE: OFA office in Charlotte (301 East 9th St., Charlotte)
WHO: North Carolina Dream Team
Viridiana Martinez, a member of both NCDT and NIYA and well-known activist in North Carolina, placed herself inside Broward two weeks ago in order to find women who were eligible for discretion. Claudio Rojas, a father and family man who is doing the same on the men’s side of the prison, was taken to Broward after being arrested by Border Patrol when he mistakenly drove his car into the Ft. Lauderdale port. He is now aiding NIYA in finding cases and has began a hunger strike until he is returned to his family. Viridiana is eligible for deferred action and Claudio is eligible for prosecutorial discretion.
Viridiana has been actively fighting for immigrant rights in North Carolina since first beginning a hunger strike with two other women in 2010, and has now continued to fight by infiltrating a detention center in Florida. In 2011 she committed her first act of civil disobedience in Atlanta, GA, fighting Georgia’s top 5 universities for banning undocumented students.She has also helped in the organizing or several Know Your Rights trainings around the state and help stop several deportations. She’s been in the forefront of the struggle for immigrant rights here in NC, making appearances at the General Assembly and lobbying for our immigrant rights. Viridiana has been confronted by anti-immigrant organizations like Mr. William Gheen director or ALIPAC, and has been in numerous media outlets defending our community.
Since June 17, 2011, the Obama Administration has insisted that it has been using discretion in deportation cases which can be considered “low-priority” or cause undue hardship for citizen family members. In June of this year, Obama announced extending deferred action to undocumented youth after we occupied his campaign offices for two weeks, costing his campaign thousands of hours of staff time.
In order to challenge Immigration and Customs Enforcement and GEO Group, Inc. which owns the facility, we have placed multiple NIYA members inside Broward Transitional Center to find people who are eligible for
deferred action, are low-priority cases, or may be eligible for visas. In this one facility alone, we have found dozens of people who, according to the Obama policies of the past year, should be released back to their families.
According to the information given to us by the activists inside, there are:
At least six people inside Broward who have pending application for a U Visa;
More than a dozen DREAM Act-eligible youth;
Over 60 who have no criminal record or prior deportations;
More than three dozen who are still eligible for discretion despite previous contacts with the system;
Several cases of immigrants in need of immediate medical care, including blood clots and a bullet in the spine.
We are demanding a full review of Broward along with the release of all eligible persons inside. GEO is paid $166 per day for the people they are holding that are eligible for relief. One woman seeking asylum from the Ukraine has been inside over 2.5 years despite already having a work visa, costing taxpayers more than $51,000.
ICE is aware that we are organizing inside. Just over the weekend, we heard that an abnormally large number of people were being released. We have also been told that the guards inside have been threatening people with federal prison for calling our hotline. Conversations about the facility over the phone have been cut short.
NIYA will no longer allow GEO Group or other private prison corporations to profit off of shattered families and broken lives. We will continue to organize inside their jails until the president lives up to his promises.
The NC DREAM Team is an organization composed of undocumented immigrant youth and allies. We are dedicated to the creation of a sustainable, community-led immigrant rights movement in North Carolina. We aim to help undocumented youth recognize our individual and collective power to activate our communities. We also aim to create awareness of the broader struggle for social justice. We will escalate in our efforts to achieve a just reform that is acceptable to–and guided by–the voices of those directly affected by our broken immigration system. We do not shy away from purposeful direct action and civil disobedience in the pursuit of a more just future for our immigrant community.
For more info: http://action.dreamactivist.org/btc/
Today, Estephania Mijangos, Cynthia Martinez, & Uriel Alberto rose their voices for our undocumented immigrant community. We need your help to get them out of detention and your calls are extremely important to make this happen. Like Senators Durbin and Reid often do, please ask our own representatives and senators to take action and intervene on their behalf and ask them to drop their ICE holds.
Photo courtesy of La Conexion
Cynthia Martinez: A#200-203-134, Estephania Mijangos: A#05-213-502, Uriel Alberto: A#089-828-718
Call Sen. Kay Hagan: (202) 224-6342
Call Rep. Brad Miller: (202) 225-3032
Call Rep. David Price: (202) 225-1784
Script: “Hello, My name is__________, and I am calling on behalf of_________, with an A-Number____________. I am asking that, like Senators Reid and Durbin often do, __________ (insert Senator/Representative) intervene on their behalf and ask ICE to drop the hold immediately. Thank you.”
Please check back in for further updates and ways to help us get the #Raleigh3 released immediately!
In November of last year, we lost Joaquin Luna, an 18-year-old undocumented youth from Texas. Joaquin, like many other undocumented youth in the United States, thought that he had no future. He saw no help available or anyone he could relate to since he had dreams on going to college and becoming an engineer. Many of us still mourn his departure.
Today, however, we have youth like 22-year-old Yanelli Hernandez from Ohio. Yanelli, just like Joaquin, realized that there wasn’t any help or future dealing with the reality of being undocumented. She came here all by herself when she was just 13. She never had the opportunity to go to school because, at the age of 15, she began working at a factory in order to help put food on her family’s table. Yanelli has been battling with depression to the point that she has already attempted suicide not once, but twice. She has been incarcerated for the past 9 months in Butler County jail. While detained, Yanelli has started taking classes and is hoping to start on her GED soon. She dreams of one day becoming a veterinarian.
Yanelli, Dream Act eligible-youth is set to be deported on Tuesday, January 31st.
Please, sign the petition here: http://action.dreamactivist.org/yanelli
TODAY, is National UndocuHealth Day.
The NC Dream Team will hold a solidarity vigil to call for a stop at Yanelli’s deportation and bring local immigrant youth together to raise awareness about the mental anguish and undocumented reality they face.
Where: YWCA of the Greater Triangle (Eliminating Racism Empowering Women), 554 E. Hargett Street
Time: 6:30pm until 7:30pm
When: Monday, January 30th—TODAY!!
Ever since I begin to understand a little bit more about how injustices were oppressing my community, I hadn’t realized that there are actual people who really dislike people like me. I profoundly believe that people begin to create assumptions, and opinions based on the amount of information they hear about people like me. This is precisely why I tried to answer some of the though questions.
Now, you may ask, who are people like me? Well, as I have explained before, my name is Jose Rico Benavides. I am a community college student. I am Undocumented, Unafraid, and Unashamed to not only speak out against the many injustices that affect the migrant community, but also take action about it.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, hate is defined as an “intense hostility usually driven from fear, anger or sense of injury.” Is it hate what they really feel? My guess would be yes. When someone calls you “an illegal immigrant,” using the word illegal is very inappropriate when referring to a human being. No human being is illegal!!
In the morning of June 1, 2011, Rep. Dale Folwell from Forsyth County, NC approached an NC DREAM Team member, yours truly, and asked him: “Are you the one that called me a coward? Are you the one?” Of course, he was referring to this press release the NC DREAM Team issued in regards to the introduction of HB 744. Rep. Folwell came with a posture and body language that was disrespectful and intimidating asking these questions, and more over when he went on and asked, “Do you have the balls to tell it to my face?” At that moment, I felt frightened and fearful that the representative would lash out at me if I would have answered honestly, so I remained silent and kept my cool. Folwell escalated at the end of the conversation by asking, “Are you an illegal immigrant?” At that point, I decided to completely ignore his behavior by not answering his questions that surely attacked the integrity of my team and mine, I simply responded: “I am not going to answer to that.”
If you read the press release, it clearly states:
“Requiring children to register their immigration status with their schools will inevitably result in discrimination, harassment or exclusion. Plain and simple, the legislators who support these bills are unprincipled cowards.”
Rep. Folwell, we are attacking the issue of asking children for their immigration status as a qualification to enter K-12 public education. We are not singling out any representative, just how you felt. We are simply calling out the bills and politicians who support anti-immigration legislation that attack our communities and children.
Join today a NC Dream Team member, along with Frank Stasio from the State of Things, and other activists and educators from the Triangle Area. Here is more info:
2011 STUDY CIRCLE FORUM
A Call to Action:
Demanding an Equitable Education for our Children
* This is a follow-up to the January MLK Day-On event
Special drumming presentation by The Magic of African Rhythm
Panel moderated by WUNC radio host, Frank Stasio
WHAT: Learn how racism creates student achievement gaps, broken school communities and the school-to-prison pipeline. Join courageous parents, teachers, principals and area citizens who are creating solutions to these problems so all students receive a quality public education. Panelists include: Ms. Rukiya Dillahunt, former WCPSS vice principal and parent advocate; Duke scholar-activist, Mark Anthony Neal; Anti-racist advocate, Mr. Scott Secor; and Chris Scott, Study Circle participant and Fuller Elementary School Principal
WHEN: Thursday, May 26, 2011 6:00-8:00pm
WHERE: Martin Street Baptist Church , 1001 East Martin Street , Raleigh , NC 27601
FREE CHILDCARE AND ENGLISH TO SPANISH TRANSLATION?: Yes! Please let us know the number and ages of the children
RSVP OR QUESTIONS: Julia Dawson , email@example.com or 919.828.3205