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April 11, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jose Torres-Don
NC DREAM Team Supports RECLAIM NC Act:
Coming Out of the Shadows
RALEIGH, NC—The North Carolina DREAM Team (NCDT) supports Republican led initiatives for continued dialogue on immigration matters in North Carolina. On Wednesday, Republican Representatives Warren, Jordan, Brown and Collins filed House Bill 786-the RECLAIM NC Act that includes a process for bringing undocumented immigrants in NC out of the shadows through a driving permit. As undocumented people we are living through the consequences of the failed promises in the past decade from the national Democratic Party on immigration reform. We welcome this initiative from NC Republicans as a signal of their better understanding of the value in this opportunity to move North Carolina forward in a way that is inclusive of the Hispanic Community. We call on the leadership of this state, both Republicans and Democrats, to resist the bullying tactics of extreme anti-immigrant factions and arrive at reasonable policies in the best interest of the state’s economy and public safety.
In the summer of 2006 NC changed its laws that made it impossible for our undocumented families to obtain or renew driver’s licenses. This change was made under the leadership by then Democratic Governor, Mike Easley, who signed the Technical Corrections Act on August 27th, 2006. In the years that have followed, undocumented community members have been and continue to be deported as a result of not being able to produce a driver’s license. We intend to fully engage in conversation on initiatives from both, Republicans and Democrats, for the possibility of a driving permit. All legislators must propose and pass meaningful legislation that elevates outcomes over false rhetoric of hope. We welcome all initiatives independent of party affiliation.
To address the concerns that this proposal sounds like a round ‘em up and deport ‘em type of policy, our everyday lives remind us that this is vigorously happening already to our community under the leadership of the national Democratic Party. NCDT member, Viridiana Martinez, 26, previously detained in an immigrant detention center in Florida experienced first-hand such destructive policies of the Obama administration. Martinez states, “there is a cruel deceptiveness in the “low priority for deportation” directive from Obama that is nothing more than a talking point… we seek an alternative to the status quo”. Currently NCDT is rallying to stop the Deportation of dedicated grandfather and Boy Scouts soccer coach, Eduardo Mireles Salazar (Alien Number: 200-717-517), who has been ordered deported from North Carolina as a result of merely driving without a license. For Coach Salazar and the many others that go unnoticed, we support Representatives Warren, Jordan, Brown and Collins in their initiative to seek better solutions.
We are aware there are problematic provisions within the proposed bill and we intend to provide our voice to that discussion so that there is understanding of the community directly affected. The NC DREAM Team looks forward to having a bigger conversation about the enlightened self-interest for Republicans in NC to align with the national leadership of the GOP that has signaled a more reasonable approach in dealing with immigration and with that fostering a better relationship with a growing Hispanic political base.
The NC DREAM Team is an organization composed of undocumented immigrant youth and allies who are dedicated to the creation of a sustainable, community-led immigrant rights movement in North Carolina. We aim to help undocumented youth recognize their individual and collective power to activate their communities.
Meet 9 year old Nayeli (R) and 7 year old Blanca (L). They’re fighting for their family to stay together this holiday season. Their mother, Maria Juana, is set to be deported to Mexico on December 27th. This could be their last Christmas together. All they want for Christmas is for their family to stay together. Will you help them?
Their mother, Maria Juana, came to the US in 2000. She was caught at the border when she initially tried to cross and was deported. She crossed again days later and has lived in NC ever since. Because of her initial contact with immigration, ICE is refusing to stop her deportation.
On December 22, 2010, Maria Juana was stopped by Alamance County law enforcement and charged and arrested for not having a driver’s license. This is also the county that is under investigation by the Department of Justice for the racial profiling of Latinos.
Maria Juana’s request for prosecutorial discretion has been denied by ICE and they insist on breaking up this family just because of the previous deportation .
The reality is that many in our undocumented community find themselves in this same situation. In our determination to get to the US, if we don’t make it across the border on our first attempt, we will try again and again and again. It’s not about comitting a crime over and over and becoming a repeat offender. It’s about literal survival. There is no apologizing for that. As a single mother of three US Citizen children, the only bread winner in the household and no criminal record, Maria Juana needs to stay in this country.
Blanca and Nayeli are standing up for their mother and they have a Christmas wish that Senator Hagan can make come true. Senator Hagan has the power to put an end to their nightmare and stop their mother’s deportation.
In 2010 Senator Hagan voted NO on the DREAM Act stating that she was in support of a more comprehensive approach to immigration reform. Now is the time for the Senator to leave the talking points behind and actually support this family. With the recently released numbers of nearly 205 thousand deportations of parents of US Citizens, Senator Hagan must be accountable to Nayeli and Blanca who are only asking for help so that their mom can stay home with them. Senator Hagan needs to immediately call for an end to Maria Juana’s deportation and not let her fall through the cracks of this broken immigration system.
Please join Nayeli and Blanca in making 100 calls to Senator Hagan and ICE so that they end their mom’s deportation. Sign the petition and call Senator Hagan and ICE now. We will stand with Blanca and Nayeli, will you?
Sign the petition at http://bit.ly/ncjuana!
Let us know in the comments how the calls turn out.
Washington DC: 202-224-6342
Sample Script: “Hi, I’m calling to ask that Senator Hagan support Maria Juana Perez Santiago (A 200-576-618) and stop her deportation set for December 27, 2012. Maria Juana is the sole bread winner for her family that includes three US Citizen children. In 2010, Senator Hagan killed the DREAM Act because she wanted Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We are holding the Senator accountable to that. The Senator has a responsibility to keep this family together. Maria Juana is a low-priority case and her deportation should be stopped immediately.
Call ICE – John Morton @ 202-732-3000 or 202-732-3100
Sample Script: “Hi, I’m calling to ask that ICE stop Maria Juana Perez Santiago’s (A 200-576-618) deportation. She is the mother of three US citizen children and a previous deportation order should not split this family apart. She is a low priority for deportation. Her children need her to stay here to be able to provide for them. Deporting Maria Juana threatens the future of her US born children.
Thanks for your support!
Miguel Tzitzios was being held at North Georgia Detention Center despite being a low priority case. So much for Obama keeping his promises. But with your help we were able to do it. Miguel was released from North Georgia TODAY, after almost 2 months in detention! Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, made the calls, and supported him in every way possible. This proves the power we have as a community! We will keep you updated on his case. Thanks again for taking action!
His daughter Cristina Tzitzios sends this note:
“Primero le quiero dar Gracias a Dios porque sin el nada de esto estaria pasando. Pero tambien le quiero dar gracias a todos los que nos apoyaron en esta dura jornada! Sin sus llamadas, sus firmas, y el apoyo esto no hubiera sucedido. Gracias NC DREAM TEAM, you guys are amazing and do great things for families like mine!! Porfin termino esta pesadilla y mi papi estara con nosotros esta noche! La fe es lo ultimo que se pierde! I love y’all!.”
Miguel was released from North Georgia Detention Center, the same state where several other families are being held. Take Marisela’s case for example, ICE showed up at Marisela’s home in October asking for her cousin. She was taken into custody after providing her consular ID card and is now being held at Irwin Detention Center in Georgia. Marisela is a DREAMer and sole provider for her US citizen daughter. President Obama has said he is not deporting DREAMers. So why is Marisela still detained?
So make sure to SIGN and SHARE the petition to release Marisela! Make sure to call ICE to tell them to release her immediately. Let’s bring Marisela home for Christmas!
Victor needs your help!
On Tuesday, December 27, Victor de la Cruz was pulled over on his way back home from work. Racial profiling? You bet. Victor was not even given a traffic ticket, instead the Wake County police officer took it upon himself to arrest him simply based on a previous record of a traffic ticket.
Victor was 11 years old when he came to the United States. He aspires to own a landscaping business. He is a son, father to three, and eligible for the Dream Act. Victor is currently being held in Alamance County Jail and could be transferred to an immigration detention center in Georgia any minute now. He faces imminent deportation and we need your help to stop it!
Make a phone call NOW to DC ICE:
John Morton 1-800-394-5855 or 202-732-3000
Sample Script: “Hi, I was calling to ask that ICE drop the hold on Victor de la Cruz (A#: 070839662). Victor is a hardworking father of three US citizen children. He had to spend Christmas and New Year’s away from his family. He is DREAM Act eligible and aspires to have his own landscaping business. ICE, drop the hold on Victor now so he can be back with his family!”
After you make your call, ask 5 of your friends to call too!
One thing that we have [sadly] gotten used to as organizers is that sometimes, the voices of the undocumented are overlooked, ignored or misrepresented. That’s part of why we, as the NC Dream Team exist. Take, for example, September 6th, 2011.
Seven undocumented youth from across the state came out of the shadows, dropped the fear and disclosed their immigration status in a very public way. Listening to their stories and their reasons for taking this brave action painted a complex picture of the harsh reality that faces undocumented immigrants in North Carolina and around the country. They came out decrying a community college system that throws undocumented youth to the back of the bus- if not under it. Charging them four times the tuition rate [regardless of their ability to show high school diplomas or tax records that would provide in-state tuition for their documented and citizen peers] while demanding that they scavenge through the post-registration leftovers. They also called out policies and programs that blur the line between local police officers and federal immigration agents- 287g and “Secure” Communities.
It’s a shame that the complexity of the reality that they tried to expose proved too complex. Many in the media referred to the act of civil disobedience as a “DREAM Act Rally”. Potential allies looked at what happened and saw it as a chance to express their solidarity with the passage of the DREAM Act.
Don’t get me wrong- we’re not opposing the DREAM Act. Believe me, we’re not. But the reason I bring this up is because listening – really listening – to the voices of these brave youth is important. They are trying to expose their reality, the reality that we all live in- consciously or not. It is a reality that our government pursues most intensely when no one is watching.
I bring this up now because the same day that these youth undertook this action, they met another undocumented person who was caught up by the same policies they were fighting against. Javier Santos was not surrounded by hundreds of supporters at the time of his arrest. He was unceremoniously picked up by the police dragnet and received very different treatment from the youth arrested that day. While they are free today, Javier continues to sit in a detention center awaiting deportation. ICE kept him separate from his wife and children while his wife brought their third daughter into the world. He has been unable to provide for his family for the past month because of these community destroying policies. All this while President Obama claims that “low priority” cases [like Javier's] would not face deportation.
It is this reality that the undocumented youth were calling your attention to. It is Javier who needs your support and attention as much as they needed it on September 6th. Please, take action today to help bring Javier home to his family. Signing this petition is important. Making the phone calls is important. Combined, they will take less than 5 minutes of your day. You can help this father see his newborn daughter for the first time- will you?
My name is Alicia Torres Don, I am 25 years old and I am UNDOCUMENTED, UNAFRAID, UNASHAMED! I entered the United States in 1992 at the age of 6. My parents made the sacrifice of leaving their culture, language, home and family behind in an effort to provide a better tomorrow for their children.
We crossed the border in the middle of the night in company of hundreds more shadows all in the search for a better life. As a family we settled in Austin, TX and although we were all aware of our undocumented status it was something that was not talked about outside the walls of the security of our home. From elementary through high school 99% of my classmates were Latino and I always made assumptions about the status of other classmates but never went further than simple assumptions because I more than anybody, at least I felt at the time, understood the stigma that came from being labeled as a “wetback”. I cannot say that I lived in fear because I didn’t, everybody around me looked like me but I however did live in shame. At some point in high school I remember sitting in the infamous big yellow round bus when suddenly I heard someone shout out “you, you have it too. You have the shot; you were born in Mexico too.” I did not know what to say or how to react at first but I knew that I could not deny it; I did have the shot; so I simply said “yeah”. I had been outed. Contrary to what you might expect, I was not embarrassed to get on the bus the next morning, I found it to be actually a bit liberating and at that time I had college to think about, so my undocumented status was not at the top of my priority list.
I was a privileged undocumented youth in the sense that when I graduated high school in 2004, Texas was one of the few states that allowed undocumented students to pay in state tuition. I was the first to graduate high school and the first to be on her way to college in my family. I was on top of the world because it was through my own merits that I was going to be going and paying for college. But surprise, surprise the curve ball of a life time was thrown at me when I graduated college in 2009 and still my undocumented status had not changed. I had a Bachelor’s in the Science of Nursing and was bilingual, the dream of many hospitals, but I could not take my licensing exam because I did not have a 9 digit number and therefore I could not put my degree into practice. I was frustrated and angry but blessed once again because I knew that the best way to channel this anger and frustration was to put it all in the efforts of passing the DREAM Act. Along the way I became part of the more than 2 million undocumented students that were demanding a change in their status and creating a youth movement along the way.
In 2010 due to personal circumstances I found myself relocating to North Carolina, a place I knew nothing about. It was not long before I connected with members of the NC DREAM Team and it was through them that I had an entire new reality check and most definitely a privilege check. In North Carolina undocumented students do not get in state tuition, but yet there are those that manage to graduate even though they pay the international rate. In North Carolina if you are undocumented and you want to register for classes in a community college it is by mandate that you have to wait until the end to give time for all the natural-born citizens time to register and even after you wait till the end to get the left over spaces if for whatever reason you have already registered and paid and suddenly a citizen decides that he/she wants to register for that same class, you, as the undocumented student will be removed and your spot will be given to that citizen. Not because they are more academically deserving than you but because they have a 9 digit number. Talk about the creation of second class citizens. To me this was completely unheard off and it just seemed too crazy to be true. But it was not long before I had people in front of my face sharing their hurtful but true experiences. How could this be? It could be and it was happening because racism and injustice still exists here and in the rest of the world.
It was then that I decided that it had been fate that had brought me to North Carolina. It was then that I realized that the entire struggle for DREAM Act was bigger than just me. It was not just about my own personal struggle but rather about OUR struggle. A struggle that for me had up to now been a bit easier due to in state tuition and the fact that in Texas I felt like the majority and not the minority. But in North Carolina undocumented youth had and are still very much isolated because of its very rural make up. But it is also in North Carolina that I witnessed the most spirit of perseverance that I have ever seen. It was the undocumented youth in North Carolina that made me want to fight, but not for me, for US because I like you am UNDOCUMENTED and we will all soon learn to be UNAFRAID, UNASHAMED! Thank you undocumented youth of North Carolina for giving me a life shake up and making me realize that my problems would not be solved by simply going back to where I came from but by staying and fighting for what is right, for justice for our community. We are struggling, but we are surviving and we will PERSEVERE.
By Alicia Torres
Upon the civil disobedience that took place last week in Indianapolis, Indiana, questions have arisen about whether such actions are necessary and responsible. The first thing that critics must remember is that deciding to participate in a civil disobedience action is a decision that is not taken lightly by either the participants or the organizers. As undocumented participants in a civil disobedience, you go in with the understanding that you are risking it all to gain it all. As organizers, you understand that the fate of the participants lay solely in your hands. Before a civil disobedience action is considered, there are natural steps that are taken–petitions, meetings, rallies, marches and the many other things that we as undocumented youth have done since 2001 in support of the DREAM Act. But when anti—immigrant bills are passed in your home state, there is an overnight sense of urgency that overflows your body. Suddenly petitions, rallies, and marches are not sufficient and local polititans start getting meaner and nastier. That was the case in Indiana.
Erick, Omar, Lupe, Paola and Sayra were arrested in Gov. Daniels’s office in protest of two immigration laws that passed in the state legislature: Senate Bill 590, which is similar to Arizona’s SB1070 and would make local police into de facto immigration agents; and HB1402, which would force undocumented Indiana students to pay out-of-state tuition rates which are triple the cost of in-state rates. The undocumented youth demanded a meeting with Daniels, which he denied. The Indiana civil disobedience was a response to the anti-immigrant sentiment that was about to be signed into law by Daniels. The Indiana undocumented community was and is in a state of urgency. I am not saying that petitioning, rallying and marching do not work because they do, but what I am saying and will stand behind is the fact that presently in our undocumented community there is an unprecedented urgency for survival.
When Arizona SB1070 copy cats are being introduced left and right and state participation in programs such as secure communities and 287g is becoming the norm we need to be ready not just to respond but to anticipate and counteract the anti-immigrant domino effect. To do this, we, the undocumented immigrant community, need to lose our fear and be ready to take the bull by its horns. So to the question of whether civil disobedience is necessary, my response is yes, because presently we are living in a continuous state of fear and with the feeling of the big man’s boot on our back.
Being undocumented is not just a status; it is a constant imposition of limitations on our lives. When you ask yourself: Am I we tired of living in fear? Am I tired of being oppressed? Am I ready to risk it all to gain self-liberation and you find yourself answering YES, then you will know that a civil disobedience is necessary. I am not advocating for you to go out and get arrested for a cause because there are definite consequences that need to be considered on an individual basis and responsible planning that must take place. What I am advocating is for people to think twice before they place judgment on civil disobedience actions and their organizers. As an undocumented person I do not want to see anybody get deported or put themselves in the line of fire and that is why my hat is off to those six undocumented students in Indiana who have showed us what courage looks like and what it means to be fighting for the right to a better life in this country that we call home. Thank you to the Indiana 6 and the Georgia 7; and to those of us around them lets be critical of our own personal judgment to civil disobedience participants and organizers.
Please join us in Raleigh on Thursday, April 7, for a Community Vigil for Immigrant Rights at 6:30 p.m.
We’ll be convening at the corner of Wilmington and Lane Streets downtown, where three brave undocumented young women from our team participated in a 13-day hunger strike last June. One of them, Viridiana Martinez, was arrested along with the Georgia 7 yesterday. Why?
“Rallying and protesting are no longer enough. Remaining in the shadows is no longer acceptable.”
Let’s not allow any more politicians like Senator Kay Hagan, who killed the DREAM Act in December, to continue dictating the reality facing the undocumented community. Everyday we see another family torn apart by deportation for nothing more than going to work or school. Everyday we see another dream deferred because of unjust educational opportunities. Everyday we see another worker denied a fair wage because of their legal status. We can no longer keep quiet. We’ve drawn a line. Whose side will you fall on? Those that are filled with hate and prejudice? Or those that are willing to stand up for justice and fight for the rights of our undocumented communities?
Please join us tomorrow, and tell a friend. El pueblo unido jamás será vencido.
By Justin Valas
Coming together to celebrate the life and work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr gives us all an important reminder of the call to work to advance the cause of equality, struggle towards civil and human rights, and stand for the dignity of all. We are reminded that the rights of the oppressed and disenfranchised are not freely given, and that America still has much work ahead. Many of us have dedicated sleepless nights and tireless months in advancing the DREAM Act in 2010 as a step towards achieving the beloved community. You can understand our shock when Senator Hagan, fresh off of her last-minute squashing of the dreams of 2 million youth (and her reluctance to make a statement about her decision), asked to be present at an event in Durham celebrating the legacy of Dr. King.
The Senator must have sensed the need for her to shore up her civil rights credentials, beyond just an old photo op and her open opposition to the North Carolina Conference of the NAACP. In her speech, she delivered flowery praise on the importance of those acts of non-violent, civil disobedience that propelled civil rights legislation, piece by piece. She rightly praised the Durham sit-ins, and the role that North Carolina played in propelling the cause of justice forward. She urged us to heed Dr. King’s call and to “renew our commitment to the freedoms and values that define our nation.” Notably absent was any mention of her role as a roadblock to a more just society, and her refusal to meet with youth engaged in the same tactics.
Dr. King’s words, pasted below, rung in my ears as I listened to the paternalistic voice that had told us “I understand, but I cannot support you. I support comprehensive immigration reform.”
“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Letter from a Birmingham Jail
She had refused to meet with us, refused to hear our voices, voted to keep us in the shadows saying ‘now is not the time for the DREAM Act.’ As Dr. King said, “[p]erhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, ‘Wait.’” The keynote speaker at the event candidly spoke on this, when he admitted to becoming tired of the song “We Shall Overcome.” “Someday…. When is ‘someday?’ We’ve been singing this song for 50-some years, and it still isn’t ‘someday,’” he said. Unfortunately, one of the obstacles to making our ‘someday’ become ‘today,’ Senator Hagan, had left the event well before the keynote speaker even took the stage.
Perhaps it was her conscience that compelled her exit. Maybe it was her conscience that lead her to speak to us, in passing, at the event. Before the start of the event, she told some of our members that she plans to focus on immigration, and that “we should meet.”
The words from Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” have not lost their relevance today. While some of the faces and names from King’s day have changed, the realities of injustice remain.
This just released by the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP:
8 December 2010
Contact: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President, 919-394-8137
Mrs. Amina J. Turner, Executive Director, 919-682-4700
Al McSurely, Esq., Communications Press & Publicity Chair, 919-389-2905
NC NAACP CALLS ON SEN BURR & SEN HAGAN TO SUPPORT THE DREAM ACT
The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP is calling for its membership and leadership to call upon members of Congress to support the DREAM ACT. NC NAACP stands with the National NAACP position that seeks passage of the DREAM ACT. NC NAACP has sent letters to United States Senators Burr and Hagan urging them to vote YES on the DREAM ACT.
State NAACP President, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II stated his full support for the DREAM Act as one step towards immigration reform. “We need to allow young people brought to our country by their parents a chance to dream about becoming a doctor, a soldier, a teacher—a contributing citizen. This act will benefit not only them, but provide a path for citizenship through their hard work and strength of character; thus building a stronger North Carolina and a stronger America.”
Amina Turner, Executive Director added, “We must remember that we are a nation of immigrants—strangers in a new land who pursued deep dreams of achievement and excellence. A new generation has arrived and we must give them to tools to succeed as contributing fellow citizens in our state and nation. The Dream Act is such a tool.”
If enacted, the DREAM Act will allow tens of thousands of young people – people who have worked hard, integrated themselves into the American culture and into American communities and stayed away from trouble – to fulfill their dream and the dreams of their parents and to achieve legal status. This in turn will allow them to go to college or serve in the US military. The DREAM Act symbolizes what America is meant to be all about – it rewards hard work and a commitment to the community with the opportunities and promises of America.
There are still too many young men and women who are preparing to go into their future with too much uncertainty. At a time when they should be celebrating and looking towards an exciting future full of promise and hope, they are instead faced with limitations due entirely to a broken immigration system that does not care, frankly, if they are an honor student, a star athlete, a member of the state champion debating team, or a typical student who has worked hard and stayed out of trouble. The DREAM Act would change that, and reward these young men and women for their hard work and their strength of character which has guided them to this point in their lives.
The DREAM Act is good for our economy, our security, and our nation. It’s limited, targeted legislation that will allow only the best and brightest young people to earn their legal status after a rigorous and lengthy process, and applies to those brought to the United States as minors by their parents, and who know no other home.
Therefore, NC NAACP strongly urges that Congress allow these young men and women to celebrate their accomplishments, contributions and their outstanding behavior by beginning the clear process of becoming documented.