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Urge her to stop this mother’s deportation!

In the days leading up to Christmas, a North Carolina family may be separated. Yesterday, nine-year-old Nayely and seven-year-old Blanca sat in Senator Kay Hagan’s office with members of the NC DREAM Team, urging the senator to halt the deportation of their mother, Maria Juana. Senator Hagan shamefully ignored these children’s pleas.

“My senator has the power to keep my mom from going to Mexico.” Nayely said.

“All I want for Christmas is my mom,” said Blanca.

Sign the petition!

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NC DREAM Team members Elisa Benitez and Cinthia Marroquin refused to leave Senator Hagan’s office until the senator wrote a letter of support for the family to stop the deportation. The senator ignored the family and team’s pleas, and both Benitez and Marroquin were arrested after three hours. They were released shortly afterward.

“We spoke with Hagan’s staffers and it was really clear that they only cared for my opinions because I have papers,” Elisa said. “They brushed over everyone else, including Maria Juana, who came in to speak about her case, with her two daughters, sister and an interpreter that we had to provide.”

Yet, Maria Juana is still set to be deported on Dec. 27. Due to the inaction of Senator Kay Hagan, this family risks being separated and Nayely and Blanca will be left without a parent. Maria Juana is a single mother of three and the sole provider for her family. In a country publicly touting family values, Maria Juana’s deportation would only add to the hypocrisy of politicians and authority and the nearly 250,000 deportations of parents who have U.S. citizen children. Maria Juana is not a criminal, though the following statement was released by Senator Hagan’s office in response to yesterday’s request:

“It is the office’s policy that we do not comment on any individual constituent case.  In general, Senator Hagan supports prioritizing the use of the federal government’s limited resources on those individuals who pose a risk to national security or public safety.”

How does a hard-working mother providing a life for her three U.S. citizen children pose a risk to national security and public safety? Senator Hagan shamefully ignored this family. But there is still time to urge her to stand up for this North Carolina family, this mother, these children.

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Call Hagan’s office and insist she urges ICE to stop Maria Juana’s deportation!

Washington D.C.: 202-224-6342
Greensboro: 336-333-5311

Sample script: “Hi I’m calling to urge the senator to support Nayely and Blanca. They need their mom this Christmas. She will be deported in 6 days. Will the senator keep Nayely and Blanca’s family together?”

What Senators can do:

1. Issue a signed letter in support of Maria Juana Perez. The letter should specifically ask that Maria’s deportation be stopped and her request for discretion. The senator must take a position on Maria’s case.

2. Call John Morton, the director of ICE, directly and ask that he use his discretion. Senators in many previous cases have made this call.

3. Issue a private bill. Any senator can sponsor a private bill and as soon as one is issued it will put a hold on any deportation for the remainder of the congressional session.

If Senator Hagan’s office tells you anything different then push them to do the above. They have the power to do it.

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?

SIGN the petition!

Senator Hagan, stop our mom's deportation!

Senator Hagan, stop our mom’s deportation!

 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.

Maria Juana hugs her young family that includes her three children.

Maria Juana hugs her young family that includes her three children.

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.

Senator Hagan:

Washington DC: 202-224-6342

Greensboro: 336-333-5311

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!

On Friday we joined Cristina Tzitzios and her son, Sebastian, for a vigil in Charlotte. They are leading a fight against this immigration system intent on deporting Miguel Tzitzios-their father/grandpa. Cristina and Sebastian are asking for your support to get Miguel released from North Georgia Detention Center.

John Morton (ICE), Senator Hagan and Senator Burr have the power to release Miguel NOW. Help Cristina and Sebastian win their family back:  Sign the petition and make your calls.

Vigil in Charlotte: Cristina asks her community to join her in getting her father released

On October 21, Miguel was on his way to work when he was pulled over by a police officer because his license plate was expired. The police officer arrested Miguel and charged him with driving without a license and for possession of fraudulent identification, even though he presented a valid passport. Despite being low priority, Miguel was transferred to North Georgia Detention where he has been ever since.

Miguel’s daughters and one year old grandson depend on him financially and emotionally. President Obama has said people like Miguel shouldn’t be deported. Why has Miguel not been released?

We will hold this administration accountable because behind each deportation are real people like Cristina and Sebastian who only want their family to stay together.

Sample Scripts:

Call ICE – John Morton @ 202-732-3000

“Hi, I am calling to urge ICE to release Miguel Tzitzios Gonzalez (A# 205-210-562) from North Georgia Detention. Miguel has been living in the U.S. for 13 years and has two daughters and a grandson that depend on him emotionally and financially. According to the Morton Memo, Miguel is a low-priority case and should be released immediately.”

Senator Hagan:

Washington DC: 202-224-6342
Greensboro: 336-333-5311

Senator Burr:

Washington DC: 202-224-3154
Winston-Salem: 1-800-685-8916

“I am calling to ask the Senator take a position on the case of Miguel Tzitzios Gonzalez (A# 205-210-562) from North Georgia Detention Center. Miguel has been living in the U.S. for 13 years and has two daughters and a US citizen grandson that depend on him emotionally and financially. According to the Morton Memo, Miguel is a low-priority case and should be released immediately. Will the Senator take a position on this case and issue a letter of support?”

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.

By Justin Valas

Despite the exciting success of gaining Congressman G.K. Butterfield as a supporter of the DREAM Act, Senator Kay Hagan continues her opposition to the bill. I address my response to her opposition in the letter being sent to her offices, pasted below.

Senator Kay Hagan,

Over the past year, undocumented youth from across the country have come out of the shadows to show the human face of our broken immigration system. From letters, phone calls, articles, declarations of support, hunger strikes, sit-ins, die-ins, acts of civil disobedience, and numerous lobby visits- you have refused to see these faces. You have shown your priorities, choosing meeting a trick-performing mule over the youth upon whom The Independent Weekly conferred the Citizen Award.

You have repeatedly refused action on tangible steps towards immigration reform, while professing your support for a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that you neither helped to draft nor co-sponsor. Your name appears nowhere in the Schumer-Graham framework introduced early this year. In September, you had another chance to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform when Senator Menendez introduced S. 3932- the CIR Act of 2010. For a proponent of CIR your absence from the list of co-sponsors is telling. Your vote does however appear on S.3721.IS- an emergency funding bill for stricter border enforcement measures, including the deployment of additional drones at the border. Hardly a “comprehensive” approach to immigration reform.

You say that you don’t want a bill that doesn’t address the issues facing our communities, as if the DREAM Act would be an end to the struggle for immigration reform. As if we would stop struggling for our communities. As if we, the youth in this movement, would abandon our older siblings, our parents, and our abuelitos. If you had any understanding of this movement, and the young people leading it, you would know better. Had you any idea that we took part in actions against Arizona’s SB 1070, led know your rights trainings, struggled to re-unify a family broken apart by our immigration system, or had the support of our parents in this struggle- you might sing a different tune.

You had both the time and audacity to sponsor a bill (S.RES.353.ATS) supporting American Education Week, while the time to co-sponsor a natural extension of that bill, the DREAM Act, seems to have escaped you. The opening line of the Presidential Proclamation for that week asserts:

Education is essential to our success as both a people and a Nation. During American Education Week, we rededicate ourselves to providing a complete and competitive education for every student, from cradle through career.

From your own bill:

[E]quipping young people in the United States with both practical skills and broader intellectual abilities, public schools give young people hope for, and access to, a productive future;

The costs of your refusal are not just productive futures and a better United States, your inaction is costing lives. If you are so concerned about the families of these undocumented youth, where is your concern as the same families mourn the suicide of their children who feel they have no future? How many more families must suffer this loss? How many more parents must suffer the remorse of frustrated futures for their children? How many more families must be separated from their children either through deportation or voluntary departure?

As a Senator who owes her seat to communities of color, I would hope that you would recognize the importance of standing by these communities. Despite losing the white vote by 18 points, you still claimed victory in 2008. New immigrants and immigrant youth voters (Latino and Asian alone) represent 120,000 votes in North Carolina- that’s nearly 10 times the margin of victory that separated President Obama from Senator John McCain in 2008.

As a US citizen and one of your voting constituents, I have been proud to stand by my undocumented friends and family in this struggle, a struggle which you have ignored. Yes, members of my family are undocumented, and not all of them will benefit from the passage of the DREAM Act. If you think that DREAMers are going to step out of the shadows and be content to leave their, our, families in them- you are sorely mistaken. While every other governmental and organizational proponent of Comprehensive Immigration Reform has come on board for the passage of the DREAM Act, you stand alone in opposition. You are single-handedly forcing these brave youth back into the shadows. You are single-handedly ensuring more pain for their families. You are single-handedly responsible for pain and suffering in the very communities to whom you owe your position. If you think that the incoming congress will be any more likely to take even a minuscule step to help reform our immigration system in a comprehensive way, you are again sorely mistaken.

To be clear, you are standing in opposition to the President; your party leadership; the Secretaries of Homeland Security, Defense, and Education; the Department of Defense; former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell; leaders of faith communities throughout North Carolina; your constituents; and countless others. You are instead standing with groups that willfully distort the truth in order to advance their xenophobic anti-immigrant agenda.

I urge you to carefully consider your position and the impacts of your inaction. North Carolina’s motto is Esse Quam Videri, and I challenge you to be, rather than seem, a friend to immigrant communities. Don’t be mistaken, your continued insistence on Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the face of legislative down-payment on that reform does not make you a friend of immigrant communities. You have a chance to do the right thing, and I strongly urge you to support the DREAM Act.

Sincerely,

Justin Valas

by Viridiana

The future of 51,000 lay at the mercy of a senator—a senator who has been unwilling to co-sponsor a piece of legislation, known as the DREAM Act: the only existing legislation that would establish a non-existent (yet necessary) pathway toward legalization for these 51,000 in our state, 2.1 million in our country. Yes, our state and our country because we are American.

            Photo by J.Valas

Behind this political terminology and this number are stories. They are stories that for years were stories of hopelessness, of desperation and confusion. But this is no longer the case. There is a hunger for freedom from these invisible chains that have kept us oppressed for years. And it is manifesting itself in a growing movement.

Of these 51,000 in North Carolina, three young women, armed with valor and determination challenged the status quo. We embarked on a thirteen day hunger strike. Our mission was to give a face to the “illegal alien” and to give our DREAMs a voice.

   Hunger Strike for our DREAMs - June 14, 2021 to June 27, 2021

But more compelling than refusing to eat a single bite was (and is) our unyielding persistence to speak out. We declared ourselves Undocumented and Unafraid. As we starved for our dreams at the corner of Wilmington and Lane, many questioned our intentions and determination. I challenge them to walk a mile in our shoes. From that day forth, the ability to go without nourishment for 13 days and the fuel for our tireless efforts came from that number: 51,000.

Last Saturday night, 51,000 were challenged. Current and former undocumented students from all over North Carolina stood before a crowd in the middle of downtown Greensboro, Guilford County: one of eight North Carolina counties with an adopted 287(g) program.

            Photo by Justin Valas

They expressed feelings of fear and shame, conflict and strength. And over fifty assembled and passers-by witnessed and listened closely as young undocumented people told their stories. They listened to stories of academic accomplishments, leadership and initiative within church youth groups, school, and community organizations. Yet, more captivating were the parts where DREAMers expressed their desire to serve. And their willingness to persevere until we are given that opportunity, by law.

  Photo by J. Valas

We, the undocumented youth of North Carolina, say no more. No more to walking with our heads down because we cannot see a brighter future. We will fight for it! No more to feeling ashamed of who we are, our names, and our lives. We are Undocumented and Unashamed! No more will we feel forced to ask why we should “pay for the sins of our fathers”. If corporations can cross borders for cheap labor, so should people seeking a better life!  

51,000 have been challenged. Now I put the challenge to Senator Hagan- will you champion legislation that will ensure a solid educational foundation and create a more educated workforce for the benefit of all North Carolinians? Or will you instead remain lock-step with the status quo, acknowledging our contributions as ”illegal taxpayers” but refusing to co-sponsor the DREAM Act? It is time for leadership, senator. It is time to live up to our state’s motto - To be, rather than to seem.

On a recent September morning, agents of Immigration Customs Enforcement came knocking on Fredd Reyes’ door. It was 5 AM and Fredd was asleep after a long night of studying for his exam at Guilford Technical Community College that very same day. Fredd was handcuffed by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and taken from his North Carolina home to North Georgia Detention Center then transferred to the infamous Stewart Detention center in Lumpkin, Georgia. He faces imminent deportation.

Take action now and let’s get him home for Thanksgiving!

Photo credit: Support Fredd Reyes

1. Call Do Price, Field Officer at Stewart Detention Center, at 229-838-1187 to urge deferral on Fredd’s case. (The voicemail is for a different name, but this is the correct number to call)

Call-in script: “Hi, I am calling to ask that you defer Fredd Reyes’ removal. His A# is 073189270. He is a hard working, talented student, and is an asset to North Carolina and the United States.”

2. Call Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) at 877-852-9462, and ask her to co-sponsor and support the DREAM Act, a bill that would give youth like Fredd the chance to no longer live in fear and to serve their communities.

3. Sign the online petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/locked_up_for_spending_22_years_in_the_us_-_bring_fredd_reyes_home_for_thanksgiving

Below is some additional background on Fredd’s story:

Twenty-two years ago, Fredd’s family fled their native Guatemala in the face of death threats and persecution. Needless to say, they haven’t been back since. In spite of the clear danger they faced back in Guatemala, our broken immigration system denied their bid for asylum in 2000.

Fredd earned his Associates Degree from Davidson County Community College and transferred to Guilford Tech to continue his education.

Fredd DREAMs of utilizing his acting and singing skills to become a professional actor and renowned singer.

Like others who have faced the injustice of our broken immigration system and the Stewart Facility, Fredd has an approved green card awaiting him on the other side of the walls that now deprive him of his freedom. The only thing stopping him from being at home with his family is ICE’s stubborn refusal to open his case.

by Justin Valas

We’ve reached a critical time for the DREAM Act. Senator Harry Reid from Nevada (who “owes the Latino community big time.”) has vowed to bring the DREAM Act up for a vote during the coming lame-duck session of Congress. In coordination with groups around the country, the NC DREAM Team and our allies have undertaken a week of action in support of the DREAM Act. In fact, within the Triangle, we are on our second week- thanks to our friends and allies at Students United for Immigrant Equality and Duke Students for Humane Borders who culminated their week by ‘Giving up our dreams for the DREAM‘ this past Friday night.

This week we have been calling for Senator Hagan to remember her accountability to ALL of her constituents. In Asheville, DREAMers took to the pavement outside of her office with signs and banners- gaining a lot of support from passers by. Some of her mountain-resident constituents braved the cold to stand for what they saw as an injustice. As taxpayers, documented and undocumented, we deserve to have a our delegates to Washington, DC hear our voices.

Photo by Viridiana Martinez

Tuesday saw caps and gowns outside of Senator Hagan’s Charlotte office. We held a vigil to restore faith in our Senator. While we have asked for meetings with Senator Hagan since May, we have frequently been told that “the Senator has a very busy schedule. She doesn’t have time to meet with everyone.” I guess she just has time to meet with her “important” constituents…. We also heard from many Republican constituents who not only couldn’t believe that Senator Hagan wasn’t co-sponsoring the DREAM Act, they were equally shocked that Senator Burr was not supportive of the legislation. So, Senator Burr, you can expect a few phone calls coming in as well.

Photo by V. Martinez

Wednesday saw youth from near her home of Greensboro take to the streets, boldly calling for Senator Hagan to “Let Us Serve!” These brave Yadkinville youth also proclaimed that they are Undocumented and Unafraid. These youth made a personal case for the passers-by and for the Senator: They are educated, talented, committed and wish to be able to serve the country they call home. At the same time, NC DREAM Team’s newest members, Jose and Alicia, attended the Senator’s veterans constituent services meeting to share their perspective with our Senator.

Photo by V. Martinez

Alicia has her nursing degree and wants to be able to serve those in need. Particularly, she wants to be able to put her training as a nurse to serve the men and women of our armed forces. For the most military-friendly state in the nation, how can we deny our troops the medical care that can save their lives? Alicia isn’t alone, there are countless DREAMers around the country who aspire to serve and protect this country through military service. When members of the American Legion learned about what the DREAM Act entailed, we gained even more supporters.

That brings us to today, Veterans Day. Not only will we be presenting the DREAM Act to a local veterans group, we will also be rallying in Raleigh outside of Senator Hagan’s office again. And we won’t be alone. DREAMers are not the only group discriminated against by something that has no bearing on their ability or desire to serve their country and be full, respected members of the community. We are reaching out to our brothers and sisters in the fight for LGBTQ equality to demand our Senator take action to support our communities and a stronger North Carolina. This Veterans Day, we are demanding that Senator Hagan “Let Us Serve”- pass the DREAM Act (requested by the Department of Defense) and repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (per Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates’ request). North Carolina and the United States deserve to make the most of talent and desire to serve already within our borders, we deserve to have our Senator take leadership on these important issues.

If you’re in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area today, join us to urge Senator Hagan to do the right thing by passing the DREAM Act and repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. You can find us at:

310 New Bern Avenue Raleigh, NC 27601

If you can’t be there, please make a phone call to Senator Hagan’s Greensboro office at 336-333-5311 and tell her that North Carolina supports the DREAM Act.

by Justin Valas

It has been assumed by some, that the only activists speaking out for the DREAM Act are undocumented. Today in Carrboro, that assumption was shattered by our documented/citizen, student allies from UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke, and NC State University. These same allies who have taken the initiative to organize “die-ins” for the DREAM and a successful march/protest against Arizona’s SB 1070, continued their strong advocacy for their undocumented peers and friends.

Our friends and allies- Michelle, Christine, Ariel, and Lupe know that as students, they have a lot of power. They showed that power by taking that message to the airwaves today on WCOM‘s “Time Out” with Bill Hendrickson.

Photo courtesy of Christine Contreras

During their interview, they called out the media for their misrepresentations about the DREAM Act. One of those tackled early in the show was the ever popular “amnesty” libel. The stringent restrictions on the DREAM Act require hard work and commitment as a way to earn their permanent residency (green card), not be gifted with citizenship. In the eyes of one of the panelists, these DREAMers  already represent some of the best parts of America and are the same as other American youth, apart from their paperwork. They also stood up against the media’s irresponsible use of the I-word.

The students went on to remind listeners of the merits of the DREAM Act. Besides being the just and right thing to do, it will be of great economic benefit to North Carolina and the United States. By making the most of the potential already here, our society will benefit both immediately and in the long run, in part through better jobs and increased wages which would greatly benefit the tax base.

These four qualified, intelligent, and hard working young women earned their spaces as students at three of North Carolina’s prestigious universities. The do not fear the addition of DREAMers to their classrooms. “They [DREAMers] are qualified- intellectually, academically and it’s just their immigration status holding them back from being able to achieve a college degree. Some, even more qualified than I am,” remarked one of the panelists.

The host, after learning more details about the actual provisions of the bill, stated “I don’t see anything that looks controversial in the bill.” According to 70% of Americans, there isn’t. Mr. Hendricks recalled how long passage of the DREAM Act has been deferred: “It seems like Senate and House politicians continue to dance around the bill as if it were a costume ball…” and that the DREAM Act deserved to be “at the top of the list” of things that our representatives should be tackling.

After giving out Senator Hagan’s phone number on the air (202-224-6342) and urging people to call, write letters, and send faxes, the interview came to an end with the host committing to fax his letter of support to both Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr.

Today, more voices joined the growing chorus of those who are documented and unafraid to stand with those who are undocumented and unafraid. Senator Hagan, will you join us?

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