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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.
For Immediate Release
June 11, 2013
Santiago Garcia- Leco
828.559.7993 | firstname.lastname@example.org
DREAMer Francisco Hernandez Set for Deportation; Community Urges USCIS to Grant DACA
Supporters of Francisco Hernandez (A# 205-210-075) gather to urge United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to grant Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Charlotte. NC— Francisco “Paco” Hernandez, now 23, came to North Carolina from Mexico at the age of 14. He graduated from McDowell High School in 2009 and was attending McDowell Technical Community College when he was taken into immigration custody. Paco filed for Deferred Action, yet he is still being forced to see an immigration judge and could be deported any day.
When: After 1pm Immigration Court Hearing, Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Where: 5701 Executive Center Drive, Suite 400
Charlotte, NC 28212
Who: Francisco, family, friends, and community supporters.
On May 13, 2011, Paco was wrongfully arrested. Paco and two friends were coming home from a party where Paco had been drinking. Being responsible, Paco let one of his sober friends, Luis –on leave from the military- drive. On their way home Paco’s car broke down; so all three friends got out to push it and Luis handed Paco the keys. While pushing the car, the police showed up to help the boys but instead (despite the care being completely off and immobile) arrested Paco and charged him with a DUI.
Despite his innocence, Paco was charged and sentenced to 30-months of probation. He didn’t miss a single check-in with his officer. However, at his November 28, 2012 check-in, ICE was waiting for him. Paco was detained and forced to spend nearly 2-months in immigration detention in Georgia Paco was finally released on a $15,000 bond, allowing him to fight his case from the outside. In June of 2013, he applied for DACA, and now we as a community supporting Paco, are asking USCIS to grant his application and help keep his family together.
For all media inquiries, contact Jose Torres-Don at (512) 744-8804.
“No Lawful Status” with “Legal Presence”? Regular license instead of pink license? None of that matters because we are no longer afraid!
by Jose Torres-Don
As an undocumented DACA eligible youth I welcome this license as an opportunity. For us it has not been about what color our drivers licenses are. The truth is that our fight for the DACA drivers licenses has been more about empowerment in our everyday lives to take control of who we are and not let anyone tell us what our place is or is not.
We are taking these licenses knowing that the biggest and most important battle is the one in our head that leads us to our own individual liberation independent of politicians, policies (or lack of), anti-immigrant groups and anything and anyone in between.
Ultimately our perseverance comes from knowing that we are valuable and that no matter how negative the anti-immigrant rhetoric is, we are human beings and we will no longer engage in the dehumanizing process of living in the “shadows”…something that politicians on both sides of the aisle have advanced. We do not need a specific color on a license to tell us, and the rest of North Carolina, who we are. We are undocumented, we are no longer afraid and do not wish to hide that neither by being silent nor by being issued a regular license.
We seek to drive without fear, to challenge the idea that we should remain in the shadows and to challenge the idea that this is about an “us” vs “them”. Instead, we want to have a real and honest conversation about how being undocumented is a problem and how we can find equitable and reasonable solutions that work for North Carolina. We look forward to having a bigger conversation about the enlightened self-interest for people in public office to not be bullied by radical anti-immigrant groups and instead see the value in moving North Carolina forward that is inclusive of the Hispanic community. We cannot promise the “hispanic vote”, we won’t promise that to any party, however, the national leadership of the GOP has signaled where the starting line is for Republicans of reasonable minds. It starts with seeing the value of the opportunity over the issue of immigration and proactively bidding for a broader base.
Hello! My name is Alejandra. I live in Liberty, NC. I’m 18 years old and I am undocumented.
I was brought to this country when I was only 13 months old. I’ve been here basically all my life and now I have the chance to help my family! My mom has been driving without a driver’s license since 2007. In these past six years, she hasn’t been able to go out anywhere without being afraid of getting pulled over. She’s gotten pulled over twice already. But what can she do? She has to work in order for us to eat and she can’t be looking for a ride all the time. Everyone has their own life and we can’t always be looking for people to take us places.
This is why I can’t wait to get my pink license! I don’t like the idea that everyone who I show my driver’s license to will know my immigration status. The truth is I’m tired though. I’m tired of hiding that I am undocumented. My immigration status does not determine my worth. As of March 25th, I too will drive without fear! I wont be scared when a cop pulls up behind me on my my way to work, afraid he’ll check my plate to find that I’ve been previously pulled over for no driver’s license . More importantly, I’ll be able to drive my mom where she needs to go. Pink stripe or no pink stripe, I’m ready for my driver’s license!
I’m undocumented: my parents brought me, my brother, and my sister to the United States when I was only 7 years old. We were looking for a better life. I remember when we first got here I was very excited about learning a new language but more than anything to see my father again.
The excitement only lasted a couple of years though because around when I turned 10, we stopped going out. You know, the things all families do: dine out or go to the mall or take trips to the beach. It was all because my father’s driver’s license had expired and we couldn’t risk driving around because he could get pulled over at any time. My mother lost her job and wasn’t able to get a new one because she doesn’t have a social security number – she’s also undocumented. Soon my brother and sister graduated from high school, but they couldn’t keep on with their education because they were undocumented as well.
Little by little, I realized what having “no lawful status” means. My plans, my dreams of joining the army or becoming a psychologist were fading away because I knew there was no way of moving forward with my life and going to college is going to be almost impossible. It seemed as if, as soon as I got out of high school, I would be stuck flipping burgers for the rest of my illegal life. I used this as an excuse for not doing well in school. In fact, going to school became pointless for me and I’m pretty sure for many others like me too. We don’t drop out because we don’t want to be in school. We give up because we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This is my last year of high school and I thank God for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Now after high school, just like my other friends with papers, I will have the luxury of several job options. I look forward to attending college or joining the Navy and obtaining a driver’s license. My senior year has been totally different from what I expected it to be: I have joined the JROTC program at Enloe High! I have better grades in my classes because I now look forward to a better future.
There is, however, one part of the licenses we’re going to be issued that I don’t really like. The North Carolina DMV has decided to mark the licenses of DACA beneficiaries with a pink stripe on top and other unnecessary labels that make our licenses look different from the rest. I think this difference will only create situations that will often lead to ethnic prejudice every time we need to show our licenses. It’s possible that the authorities will use our distinctive license against us.
Although my license will be looking different from those of my friends, I am still very thankful that I’ll be able to drive legally in North Carolina, and not only me but my siblings too. This license will make the state of North Carolina safer by letting us drive legally and authorized. To me the color and “No Lawful Status” label added to the license won’t stop me from getting one; they could even make our licenses triangle shaped, rainbow colored or any other thing to mark a difference between us and those with papers. As long as I can drive, work, go to college and accomplish my goals legally in this state, that is what matters.
Ungrateful? No. I’d say I’m realistic. I have decided I will not be getting a pink license. This decision has not only surprised my friends but also my family. I understand that by not getting one not only will it affect me but also them. The truth is I have been discriminated against for the past thirteen years that I’ve lived in this country. I’m sick and tired of it. On March 25th, I plan to come out publicly about my immigration status because I refuse to be further discriminated, but more importantly because I refuse to continue to live in the shadows and afraid. I will continue to drive without a license and I will do so without fear.
I thank my friends, family, teammates and all of those who supported us the dreamers back in January when we were fighting to get our license. I was one of those who were at the rallies, demanding equal rights. I never thought that we would be issued licences that brand us and single us out in red letters: “No Lawful Status”. Why not “Legal Presence” instead? After all, we do hold legal presence.
I’ve been in this country for thirteen years. I’ve missed my grandparents’ birthdays and their funerals. I’ve missed Mexico too. I’ve been asked before why I don’t just go back. I don’t go back because I’m not giving up. I have dreams and goals I want to achieve. Also, my family is here. But living in the US has not been easy. Fourth grade was hard – I got bullied because I speak English with an accent. In middle school, the problem was my skin color. And in high school.. well that’s when I realized what it means to be illegal. It was during junior and senior year that I understood everything perfectly. Not only was my skin color the problem, but also my immigration status. Senior year, while everyone was filling out their college applications, a classmate who was also illegal and I were the only ones not doing it. Not because we didn’t want to but because we couldn’t. I will never forget what I felt during that time.
We all have decisions to make and I know that at the end of the day a license is a license, and boy do I need it. But.. no, thank you. I have decided not to get a pink license because I refuse to allow anyone else to single me out, bully me, or make me feel less human and less of a person because of my immigration status. This will not keep me from driving, however. I will be driving without fear!
As part of the NC Dream Team, I believe in the power of organizing. I believe in the power of my community to stand up and fight back. Whether you have to get a pink license or you choose not to, I encourage you to DROP THE FEAR. What matters is that we drop the fear of ICE or the police and acknowledge the power we have as a community to fight back. On March 25th, I am driving without fear. Will you be there? Will you drop the fear?
Where: DMV on 2431 Spring Forest Road, North Raleigh, NC, 27615
Time: 3 pm
Next Monday DMVs across North Carolina will be re-issuing drivers
licenses to DACA youth. The pink striped licenses that will be issued
to us have been bashed as discriminatory and getting one may even be seen by some as being complicit in the government’s signaling out of undocumented people. I’ve been in conversations in which documented people look at me as if they want to save me… they are outraged that this is happening and some have even apologized for the outright discrimination the state is engaged in. The funny thing about that is that I’m not outraged…not at all. I’ve already won this battle. In fact, I won it back in 2010 when I declared myself to be undocumented and unafraid. All I need now is a license that forces the government to acknowledge me and my position as an undocumented person who refuses to be afraid and live in the shadows. A regular license would not accomplish that so thank you, North Carolina!
We’re on the same page. This has been more about dropping the fear than anything else.
The truth is that the alternative to a pink striped license came close
to being nothing at all. I’m going to check my privilege here because
the fact is that throughout the period that I have this license I will
have deferred action and that means I won’t be deported. Even if I
decided to not get a license, I would still not be risking the same
thing by driving without a license because deportation would be off
the table…even if only temporarily. There are others in my community that don’t have this privilege. My parents and older brothers and sisters certainly don’t. Having a drivers license in the family will be good no matter what color the license is. For me to not get one or to get caught up in picking a fight about how discriminatory this license will be is closing the door on an opportunity to open a conversation about drivers licenses for all undocumented people.
Again, the color that it comes in is secondary to the goal of empowerment that allows us to take this licenses and force them to be on our terms with an added level of accountability for the
discrimination that will happen no matter what.
At the NC DREAM Team we may have different opinions and some of us will get one of these licenses and others of us will decide not to.
The bottom line, though, is that we will drive without fear.
As the NC DREAM Team our priority is to help undocumented youth
recognize our individual and collective power. We seek to activate our communities and escalate in our efforts. We are guided by the voices of those directly affected:
· We welcome these licenses as an opportunity for some of us to have
an option that we did not have before.
· We are not safer with a regular license because discrimination still
happens on the basis of our skin color and the perceived immigration
status. At the end of the day we are still subject to deportation and harassment from law enforcement no matter what kind of license we get issued.
· Undocumented youth in North Carolina have been coming out as
undocumented, unafraid and unashamed since 2010. We will not allow a pink stripe to re-instate the shame that we gave up feeling with the empowerment of our community.
We aim to be empowered to get a pink striped license and take it as an opportunity to be undocumented and unafraid because we know how to fight back. If you are undocumented and were previously issued a regular license then go ahead and put that pink tape on your drivers license! You are undocumented. No need to hide it. Be empowered by it!
We are taking these licenses and engaging in this fight knowing that
the biggest and most important battle is the one in our head that
leads us to our own individual liberation independent of politicians,
policies, anti-immigrant groups, allies, the non-profit industrial
complex and anything and anyone in between.
Join us on March 25th at 3:30pm at the DMV at 2431 Spring Forest Road North Raleigh, Unit 101, NC 27615. We will rally to declare that we will drive without fear!
by Amy Fischer
North Carolina’s new policy for issuing licenses for DACA beneficiaries has made national news. People seem to be up in arms looking for ways to do something about the now infamous pink (or is it fuchsia?) stripe. Some religious and advocacy organizations have started encouraging allies to put pink tape on their licenses as an act of solidarity. While I appreciate the sentiment, I, as an ally will not be doing this to my license.
The last time I wrote a blog post about my experience as an ally, I wrote about the fear that I hold for my friends who drive without licenses. I told the story of a friend who would drive without fear, partly because she had to get around and had no other option, but also because she trusted the power of fighting back in case anything were to happen.
As a member of NC DREAM Team, I have had the privilege of speaking with a bunch of people who will be receiving these pink licenses. One person, who is a junior in high school, has told me how he and his parents have been counting down the days until March 25th because this serves as an opportunity for somebody in their family to actually have a drivers license. He says the pink stripe is wrong; he is by no means happy about it. But to him, a license is a license. He and his parents have a whole list of things that they are going to do, and will be able to do, now that there is a license in the family. Alternatively, I’ve heard the story of a young woman who says she will not be getting one of these licenses. She says that she has felt discriminated against all of her life because of her immigration status, and this is just one more instance of her being singled-out and treated wrongly. She says she will continue driving without a license and without fear.
In both of these cases, and the many more in-between, I honestly can’t relate. And putting a bit of pink tape on my license will not change this . I will not get pulled over and questioned about my status because the license in my wallet has tape on it. I won’t feel the sting of the hatred of the anti-immigrant rhetoric that refers to my friends as criminals and demands that they “get out.” And while this may be an over-generalization, for most of the folks that I have seen taping their licenses in solidarity, they seem to be the types that rarely have to take their licenses out of their wallets anyway. We don’t look suspicious. We would probably get waved right through a check point in our neighborhoods because our skin color does not evoke a threat to people’s comfort levels.
I’m not putting pink tape on my license because my solidarity comes from standing with my immigrant friends and supporting their organizing efforts, not from a lame attempt to pretend like I know what it’s like to be undocumented or singled out because of my immigration status. My solidarity allows for undocumented youth to speak for themselves, not for clergy and advocates to attempt to co-opt a struggle that isn’t theirs. Yes, this new policy is unjust. And it’s great that so many people seem fired up about it. But, if you want to do something about it, consult with the people who are directly affected to see how you can stand in solidarity.
To start, join us on March 25th. That’s the first day these pink licenses are being issued, and DACA youth and their families will be speaking out at 3:30pm at the DMV at 2431 Spring Forest Road North Raleigh, Unit 101, NC 27615. See you there.
El Representante Cleveland del Condado de Onslow es el mismo legislador detras de la propuesta de ley en contra de la matricula consular y las propuestas de ley anti-inmigrantes del año pasado. Nosotros lo conocemos como “El Abuelo Cleveland” porque es un señor de edad avanzada que podria ser abuelo de todos nosotros en el NC Dream Team. Y al parecer, es un señor que todavia no reconoce que Carolina del Norte no es el mismo estado que era hace veinte años.
La propuesta de ley HB 218 es una propuesta para prohibirnos acceso a los colegios y universidades a nosotros los jovenes indocumentados en Carolina del Norte. Es muy probable que no pase a ser ley esta propuesta. Pero es importante saber quienes son aliados de la comunidad inmigrante y quienes no. Al igual que nuestro Sub Gobernador Dan Forest, el Representante Cleveland no es un aliado.
Cinthia Marroquin and Jose Rico will be speaking shortly at a press conference held by sponsors of House Bill 184, a bill proposal led by Democrat house members at our state’s legislature that asks for DACA licenses that look like everyone elses, without the pink stripe and without the red label “No Lawful Status”.
As undocumented youth tired of the friendly but weightless rhetoric of Washington, D.C.’s Democratic leadership that preaches immigration reform but continues to deport and separate our families, we hope our state’s local Democratic leadership is not too late to stand on the side of NC’s immigrant community. In 2005, when Democrats controlled the legislature they kept a proposal for in-state tuition for undocumented students from passing. It’s been 8 years since then. What we call for today is bipartisan leadership to move North Carolina forward. Both Democrats and Republicans have a stake in this matter.