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Dreamer’s Day 2014: Pathways to Education for Immigrant Youth
Parents and students are invited to attend this special event. Speakers from the NC Dream Team will come to share their own personal stories navigating the U.S. education system. You will also learn about unique resources and scholarship opportunities available to immigrant youth!
Date: April 28, 2014
Location: Sallie B. Howard School Auditorium – 1004 Herring Ave. Wilson, NC
English Q&A Panel 2:00 pm
Spanish Q&A Panel 6:00 pm
Your child does not need to be a student at Sallie B. Howard School in order for you to attend. Questions? Please contact Angelica Contreras (for Spanish translation), Georgina Barbosa (for Spanish translation), Kate Donohue or Hannah Smoot at (252) 293-4150.
To: Office of the Attorney General
From: Elizabeth Simpson, Attorney & the N.C. DREAM Team
Date: January 9, 2014
Re: In-state tuition for DACA beneficiaries
I. Background on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program
On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama announced the creation of a new legal program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). Administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), DACA grants an indefinitely renewable legal permission to remain in the United States to children who were brought to the United States by their parents at a young age and have proven their integration into society by attending or graduating high school. The USCIS began formally accepting DACA applications on August 15, 2012. In order to qualify for DACA, an applicant must generally meet the following requirements:
a) Under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
b) Moved to the United States before his 16th birthday, and has continuously resided in the United States since before June 15, 2007;
c) Was physically present in the United States, with no lawful immigration status, on June 15, 2012;
d) Is currently in school, or graduated from a U.S. high school; and
e) Has not been convicted of any one of a long list of disqualifying crimes, and does not represent a danger to public safety.
Although DACA is a new program, DACA is but one form of deferred action, which has a long history in U.S. immigration law. (Indeed, John Lennon was famously granted deferred action in 1975, see Lennon v. INS, 527 F.2d 187, 190-91 (2d Cir. 1975)). The executive’s power to grant deferred action stems not from any particular statutory authorization, but rather from the executive’s inherent power to exercise discretion in its immigration enforcement activities. See Reno v. Am.-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm., 525 U.S. 471, 483-84 (1999). Nonetheless, the category of deferred action is recognized and referred to in various places in the U.S. Code, including 8 U.S.C. §§ 1151, 1154, and 1227, and 49 U.S.C. § 30301.
Likewise, various sections of the Code of Federal Regulations recognize that deferred action beneficiaries are deemed lawfully present for most purposes under federal law. See, e.g., 6 C.F.R. § 37.3 (defining “approved deferred action status” as “lawful status” for the purpose of federal REAL ID drivers’ licenses); 8 C.F.R. § 1.3(a)(4)(vi) (defining any “[a]liens currently in deferred action status” as an “alien who is lawfully present in the United States” for the purposes of applying for Social Security benefits); 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(c)(14) (listing “[a]n alien who has been granted deferred action” as one of the “[c]lasses of aliens authorized to accept employment”); 20 CFR § 416.1618(b)(11) (listing “[a]liens granted deferred action status” as “permanently residing in the United States under color of law” (emphasis added)); 45 C.F.R. § 152.2(4)(vi) (defining “[a]liens currently in deferred action status” as “lawfully present”).
DACA beneficiaries (i.e. ,individuals who apply for and are granted DACA) are given legal permission by the U.S. government to remain in the United States for a two-year period, indefinitely renewable. The DACA program contains no end date or sunset clause, nor can a DACA beneficiary age-out of coverage under the program, nor is there any limit on the number of times that a beneficiary might renew her DACA. In other words, as long as a DACA beneficiary keeps renewing her DACA every two years, she has every expectation of being able to legally remain in the United States permanently, with no legal obligation ever to return to her country of origin. DACA beneficiaries are also granted employment authorization by the U.S. government, which gives them the legal permission to work in the United States. They are also eligible to obtain a Social Security number and apply for Social Security benefits. See http:// http://www.dhs.gov/deferred-action-childhood-arrivals#0
II. Some Quick Facts About DACA Beneficiaries
• As of September 2013, about 19,876 students had applied for DACA from the State of North Carolina. Over 15,000 had been approved. See http:// http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/Reports%20and%20Studies/ Immigration%20Forms%20Data/All%20Form%20Types/DACA/daca-13-9- 11.pdf
• More than 2/3 of DACA applicants arrived in the United States when they were under 10 years of age. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/16/deferred- action-applicant_n_3769083.html
• About 72% of DACA applicants had resided in the United States at least 10 years when they applied http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/16/deferred-action- applicant_n_3769083.html
III. DACA Beneficiaries Can Form the Intent to Stay in North Carolina
By law, North Carolina public colleges and universities grant in-state tuition status to North Carolina domiciliaries. N.C.G.S. 116-143.1(b). “Domicile is one’s permanent, established home as distinguished from a temporary, although actual, place of residence.” Norman v. Cameron, 127 N.C.App. 44, 49 (1997); see also N.C.G.S. 116-143.1(c). A domicile is the place where one makes one’s home.
Currently, North Carolina’s colleges and universities apparently assume (without statutory basis) that neither undocumented immigrants, nor DACA beneficiaries, have the “capacity” to form the requisite intent to become domiciliaries of North Carolina—presumably because these students may be at risk of deportation in the future, which would disrupt their future residence in the State. However, this notion misapprehends the degree of certainty traditionally required for domiciliary intent. “It is not necessary that [a student] should have the intention of always remaining, but there must coexist the fact and the intention of making it his present abiding place, and there must be no intention of presently removing.” Lloyd v. Babb, 296 NC 416, 446 (1979). The idea of remaining in the location “permanently” should not be “taken literally”—because of the myriad controllable and uncontrollable intervening events that may disrupt any person’s intentions regarding the place where she makes a home—whether or not she is an immigrant. Id.
DACA students, with their indefinitely renewable lawful presence, are more than capable of forming the subjective intent to stay and make their home in North Carolina. They are quite dissimilar to holders of unexpired B (tourist), J (exhange program), or C (transit) visas, for instance—persons who have been in the United States only a short period of time, and who have explicitly promised to return to a foreign home on a fixed date. In contrast, DACA beneficiaires are—by definition—immigrants who have grown up in the United States, have attended high school in the United States, and who have expressed an explicit intention to remain in the United States indefinitely. Moreover, the federal government has granted DACA beneficiaries permission to fulfill this intention.
IV. For Purposes of In-State Tuition, DACA Beneficiaries Are Indistinguishable from TPS Beneficiaries
Furthermore, DACA beneficiaries are extraordinarily similar to beneficiaries of another federal immigration program: Temporary Protected Status (TPS)—and North Carolina already permits TPS beneficiaries to demonstrate that they are domiciliaries of the State. See Memorandum of State Residence Committeee (Dec. 11, 2012). There is no legal basis under North Carolina or federal law to distinguish between TPS beneficiaries and DACA beneficiaries.
Also administered by USCIS, TPS grants an indefinitely renewable legal permission to remain in the United States to nationals of certain countries that suffer from unsafe conditions, such as El Salvador, Honduras, and South Sudan. TPS beneficiaries are granted legal permission to stay in the United States for a period of six to eighteen months, indefinitely renewable. Like DACA, the TPS program contains no end date or sunset clause, nor can a TPS beneficiary age-out of coverage under the program, nor is there any limit on the number of times that a beneficiary might renew her TPS. TPS beneficiaries are granted employment authorization, which gives them legal permission to work in the United States. They are eligible to obtain a Social Security number and apply for Social Security benefits. See http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status-deferred-enforced-departure/temporary-protected-status.
DACA beneficiaries and TPS beneficiaries both apply for recognition on nearly identical forms (Form 821 v. Form 821d). Both are groups of individuals that the United States could lawfully choose to deport—but has explicitly chosen to give permission to stay. Therefore, both DACA beneficiaries and TPS beneficiaries can reasonably expect to lawfully remain in the United States indefinitely. There is no reasonable distinction between the two groups under North Carolina’s law of “domicile.”
The Attorney General should interpret North Carolina law consistent with traditional common law concepts of domiciliary intent, and consistent with the State’s December 2012 determination to grant in-state tuition to TPS beneficiaries who are otherwise eligible.
I’m Oliva Prezas Garces. I am an undocumented student and currently a DACA holder. I was brought here to North Carolina when I was 4 years old. I graduated from high school in 2012 as an honors/AP student. My plan after high school was to attend a four year university and pursue a BS in biology. However, I was not able to follow my plan. All of the universities were rating me as an out-of-state student because of my undocumented status. Most of the scholarships that I could have qualified required US residency, and those that didn’t were very competitive. Financial aid was also not an available option. The possibility of going to college was impossible.
As a result, I did not attend a university. Instead, I am working full time at a factory so I can attend a local community college where I am also charged at the out-of-state tuition rate, even though I graduated from high school here. Last semester, I payed $2600 for 3 classes; that is 3 times more than my high school classmates who are charged at the in-state tuition rate pay. This is unfair because I have lived here almost my entire life. I was raised here. I overcame the challenge to learn english. I gave my academics top priority. My future is here in North Carolina and this is my home.
Attending Vance Granville Community College is a major challenge to me. Everyday, I worry that I will not have enough money to pay the high cost to take classes there. What if I lose my job? Or even worse, what if I don’t graduate on time because I cannot pay my tuition? All of that time, money, and hard work will go to waste.
However, this could all change with the support of Attorney General Roy Cooper. His signature in support of in-state tuition for students like me will change our lives forever. With the stroke of a pen, he can change the direction of my future and the future of North Carolina as there are thousands of others like me. Difference is I will no longer remain in the shadows about my struggle. For 3 months now, we have requested the support of Attorney General Cooper. What is the hold up???
When I was little, I accompanied my mother to the doctor because she broke her leg. My mother was in pain and stressed out. She was missing days of work and getting backed up on paying the bills. The doctor helped my mother and since then, I have known I want to become a doctor because I want to help others the way that doctor helped my mother. Specifically, my dream is to become an Orthopedic Physician’s Assistant. Why is Attorney General Cooper refusing to support students like me? On Saturday, January 11th I will be marching from UNC Chapel Hill to Attorney General Cooper’s office to hold a funeral for my dream. Will you march with me? You can register here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1z_NIRtwtgA6E35sEN8jtxeYiMa0kgW9CLugR3EaHmU0/viewform
Thank you for your support!
Hello, my name is Juan Prezas. I am 23 years old and I have been living in North Carolina since I was 9 years old. When my family first moved to North Carolina, I thought everything would change for the better, but it was easier said than done. Learning a new language and trying to fit in was not easy, but I stepped up to the plate.
Throughout my middle school and high school years, my parents always encouraged me to be the best student I could be. I worked hard. But when I graduated from high school, my future was uncertain. My family’s financial situation was unstable, so to help contribute to the household, I opted to work and put my education second. I had to save enough money to attend my local community college. But when I tried to enroll, I was met by bad news: undocumented students were not allowed to attend community colleges or universities without a social security number.
After finding out that I could not go back to school, I worked for another year. All I could do was try to get my mind off my situation, I felt hopeless. I was stuck in a minimum wage job with no possibilities of going to college. I was banned.
It was until 2011 when I returned to my Vance Granville Community College to try to enroll in classes. That year I was allowed to register for classes, but I had to pay out-of-state tuition. The tuition for out-of-state students was and remains nearly four times the in-state tuition cost. When I heard the amount of money that I had to pay to go back to school, I was unsure if going back to school was the right thing to do. The more I though about it, I became convinced that I was unhappy with my job that only paid minimum wage. So, out-of-state tuition and all, I decided to go back to college.
My first semester at my local community college, I paid about 1,900 dollars and my tuition steadily increased as I took more classes each semester. Graduation seems like something out of my reach if I have to continue paying out-of-state tuition. My dream of becoming an engineer has already been deferred. The damage has already been done. But that can change if Attorney General Cooper supports me. The federal government has already allowed me to legally work here and I have a social security number through the DACA program. So, why keep me from attending college and contributing to my state?
On Saturday, January 11th, 2014, I will be joining four other DACA students like me. We will march from UNC Chapel Hill to Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office. Every day he refuses to support students like me, he is killing our futures. The March of Broken Dreams will culminate with a funeral outside of his office. I hope you can be there. But if you can’t, sign and share the petition calling on Attorney General Cooper, the UNC Board of Governors, and the NC Community College System to give DACA students in-state tuition now. Here it is: http://action.dreamactivist.org/northcarolina/instate.
Thank you for your support.
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 | email@example.com
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