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Pedro Guzman, a loving husband and father, has been released from Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. He is now home with his family. His crime? Immigration Court sent his information to the wrong address.

We’re happy to hear that Pedro is now free. You can read more about Pedro’s case at the links above and here, at the Larsens in Lagrange blog.


Photo courtesy of Dayanna R.

Undocumented youth are taking a stand against HB87, an Arizona-style bill in Georgia. Georgia has also moved to ban undocumented youth from attending its top-tier public universities. CBS Atlanta has the story here.

From the Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance:

Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Georgina Perez
ginalpm@gmail.com or Cell: 678-389-1226

Keish Kim
keish.kim@gmail.com or Cell: 678.525.1912

Undocumented High School Students Walk Out In Response to HB 87 and Ban on Higher Education Youth Demand Equality Education on 57th Anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education

Mableton, Georgia— May 17th, on the anniversary of landmark civil rights case Brown vs. Board of Education, hundreds of students from Pebblebrook high school will walk out of their classrooms demanding equal access to higher education. The, mostly undocumented, students hope their walkout will send a clear signal to Gov. Deal, the Board of Regents and others who wish to prevent them from attaining a higher education; “as undocumented youth we can no longer be afraid of those who stand against us, instead we need show them we will fight back. We need to take a stand because if we do not do it no one else will” says Dulce Guerrero, an undocumented 12th grader at Pebblebrook high school.

WHAT: Undocumented youth walk-out of class and rally outside school at flag poll

WHO: Undocumented Youth and allies in grades 9 to 12 from Pebblebrook high-school
Reverend Timothy McDonald, senior pastor of the First Iconium Baptist Church

WHEN: Tuesday, May 17th at 2:00pm at the Flag Poll

WHERE: FLAG POLL - Pebblebrook high school, 991 Old Alabama Road, Mableton, Georgia 30126

In October of 2010 the Georgia Board of Regents made a ruling which bars all undocumented youth from its top 5 universities. The ban, unlike other states, does not even allow for undocumented youth to attend at out-of-state tuition rates. Rev. Timothy McDonald, senior pastor of the First Iconium Baptist Church states; “As we remember the historic Brown vs. Board of Education decision, we affirm that immigration is the civil rights issue for the 21st century. We will not re-segregate our colleges and university. America must continue its forward progress towards affirming the rights of all people.”

According to a July 2010 Migrant Policy Institute report, Dulce is just one of the estimated 74,000 undocumented youth who are currently living in Georgia. She joins the over 2.1 million who reside in the United States. Dulce went on to say; “A ban on college is unacceptable; if our students have the brains then nothing should prevent them from attending college. I am walking out today because I want to go to college; if my teachers, my principle and my community support the values of Brown vs. Board of Education then I hope they will support us, the students who are affected by these laws.”

The students leading this action promise that it is only the first of its kind, like the action of April 5th in which 7 undocumented youth were arrested; organizers plan to continue with the direct civil disobedience actions until immigrant communities in Georgia can once again live without constant fear.

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Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance (GUYA) is an Undocumented Youth-led organization which seeks dignity and justice for its immigrant youth community in the state of Georgia. GUYA believes all persons should have equal access to education and a life free from persecution regardless of their legal status.

Listen to The State of Things today on 91.5 (Raleigh) to hear members of the NC DREAM Team discuss immigration, education and the recent action in Georgia.


J.Valas

By José Torres-Don

Last Thursday’s vigil was an opportunity for all of us to reflect on our current situation in North Carolina as an immigrant community. The vigil was held at the same place where just a year before three young women declared a hunger strike challenging all of us to believe and push for our dreams. At the time, they demanded for Senator Hagan to hear their frustration. Needless to say, the Senator did not measure up to the trust and confidence placed in her. However, this time around we came together in support of the seven undocumented youth, two from the NC DREAM Team, who last Tuesday intentionally risked deportation in Atlanta, Georgia through a civil disobedience action. The seven youth demanded that Georgia State University President refuse the ban on undocumented students attending the university. This was the first direct action by undocumented youth since the DREAM Act failed to pass in the Senate. It was an important one-since then our immigrant communities have been under attack at the local level, where we feel it the most, and the only support we hear from a supposedly immigrant-friendly administration is an irresponsible and faint commitment to not deport us.


J. Valas

More than anything, the vigil was a celebration of the undocumented youth empowerment felt throughout the state. We all felt the risk of the action taken, but as we stood there united, we understood clearly the greater risk in maintaining the status quo. We were all reminded that in North Carolina, our urgency is such that our own friends are willing to risk it all in order to give us all our voice back and to not be afraid to stand up and speak our own truth. We reflected on their strength to look fear in the eye and push and lead us to understand our own power. We felt it. We understood our cause at its very core. We welcomed our responsibility to keep pushing ahead for undocumented youth and our parents so that we heal through self-empowerment. This was especially felt when Jose Rico’s family spoke up about their support for him and how proud they were about his leadership and courage.

That night, we renewed our commitment to this fight that at times seems endless but worth it because our dignity and humanity are priorities. To say the least, the courage of the seven undocumented youth is inspiring and the empowerment liberating. Through them we were are all able to scream and now shoulder to shoulder we free ourselves from whatever fear we may have because nothing is more contagious than courage.

Take a minute to get to know the other folks who were arrested in Georgia. They come from different parts of the country, but all stood up against the same injustice together.

[NOTE: The Georgia 7 have been released and we are no longer collecting bail money. Thank you for those who have shown your support.]

Georgina | Viridiana | Jose Rico | Dayanna | Maria | Andrea | David

ATLANTA—Two young undocumented North Carolina residents who participated in a sit-in today on the campus of Georgia State University have been arrested and taken to an area jail. Atlanta participates in the Secure Communities program, which makes the risk of detainment and deportation high.

“I’m doing this because our communities are living in fear,” said Jose Rico, one of two sit-in participants from North Carolina. “51,000 undocumented youth had their dreams torn apart when our senators voted against the DREAM Act. They are trying to criminalize our existence.”

Rico is a student at Wake Tech in Raleigh who plans to transfer to NC State University. After excelling in high school being accepted to numerous colleges, Rico could not afford to go to school because of the out-of-state tuition that undocumented students are required to pay. Rico plans to stay in North Carolina and become an engineer.

Georgia, like North Carolina, is considering banning undocumented students from attending public colleges and universities. Georgia has already banned attendance at its top-tier institutions. Two bills in the NC General Assembly, HB 11 and HB 343, would close the doors to immigrants on higher education. Both bills, along with others, have been introduced by Rep. George Cleveland (R-Onslow).

Viridiana Martinez, the other sit-in participant from North Carolina, has spoken to Cleveland personally.

“He doesn’t understand that he’s hurting people,” Martinez said. “These people are North Carolinians who love this state as much as he does.”

By participating in this sit-in, Martinez and Rico risk arrest and deportation. However, lobbying and political campaigns have yet to deliver federal reform.

“Rallying and protesting are no longer enough,” Martinez said. “Remaining in the shadows is no longer acceptable.”

Undocumented immigrants are not the only ones who need to stand up and take action. For the rest of us, friends, lovers, classmates-we need to stand ready at the side of those we love. With that in mind, here’s Valentina’s story.

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“My name is Valentina Pavone, I am Fredd Reyes‘ proud girlfriend of 5 years now. He is the most amazing person I know and have ever known. I’ve always known that Fredd was undocumented-I just never knew what it could really mean for us and how much they could take away.

September 25th,2010 is a date that I will never forget. I received a phone call: “They took Fredd”.

At first I wanted to pretend I didn’t know what this meant, but I knew it very well-Fredd and I had discussed this before. He got caught, I wanted so much to believe it was a dream. I remember waking up at 6am the next day crying hysterically. I tried to call Fredd to tell him I had a terrible dream but his phone was off. That’s when I felt it-this was really happening.

I couldn’t eat for days. It took a while to figure out the phone system-then, finally, I could hear his voice. I didn’t hear what I wanted to hear; he was going to be transferred to a detention center in Georgia where he would probably be deported from. The timing was uncertain, I kept strong for him-I had to, because I knew no matter what happened, they couldn’t tear us apart. We made a plan and we knew we would be back together again.

I went to visit him every Sunday. Five hours there, five hours back, but I would only get one hour and we had a glass between us. I couldn’t even hold his hand. It was awful; I cried every time I left. I knew he didn’t deserve that-none of it-they were tearing him apart. For what? For wanting a better life? For wanting an education? For wanting the so called “American dream”?

Weeks went by before I knew it. Fredd was going on two months of being detained. He was set to be deported to Guatemala, but then some angels came along. All of you-because of you-November 24th became the best day of my life! I got a phone call: “baby I’m coming home, I’m free!” I will never be able to repay anyone back for what they did because it would never be enough, but I promise all of you that I will stand by you! When Fredd was locked up, I was looking for support, answers. I didn’t think I could be the only one going through this-I wanted to see if others shared their story. I came across way more than I wanted. So many people like me where suffering because of immigration-so many knew what detention centers were. I’d never wish it on anyone. It was the hardest time in my life. Just imagine for a minute having your loved one just taken away from you without being able to do anything. Finding these stories, though, motivated me-they made me realize that nobody needs to be afraid. I didn’t have to go around pretending this was not happening to me. It was time to speak up take a stand.

All we have is our voice. I know it may be scary-and at times, even painful to admit-I can’t even count the many times I have been angry, but being angry and doing nothing will only leave you bitter. That’s why I’m so proud to have a team like the NC DREAM Team. We do something about it. If you want something to change, then you can’t wait around for someone to do it for you. Stand up and do something about it, and that’s exactly what I am doing. I’m going to take action. I’m not going to let them decide what is going to happen. It’s so important for people to take a stand; everyone makes a difference. I will admit that this was probably one of the hardest things I have ever gone through and will ever go through, but it also made me realize that I can’t stay quiet anymore, none of us can. Together we can do anything. I was born in Italy and moved here when I was 10 years old-I’m not undocumented but I’m unafraid and most definitely unashamed to stand up with you all! You deserve the dream, you deserve your rights!!!

On Friday, a Cobb County Sheriff’s deputy in Georgia was found guilty on a total of seven counts, including sodomy, rape, false imprisonment and kidnapping of a 23-year-old undocumented woman. This bastard, Jason Bill, forced a young woman to commit sexual acts at gunpoint and under the threat of deportation. What gave him the power to make good on that threat? Oh, just an agreement called 287(g).

A little over a year ago in Charlotte, NC, another police officer named Marcus Jackson sexually assaulted six women, including a seventeen-year-old girl, before the boyfriend of one of the victims went to the police. How did the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department thank him for pointing out a disgrace to the uniform? They handed him over to ICE under 287(g).

And last year, Bedri Kulla, a former US Citizen and Immigration Services official, threatened to deport a 23-year-old woman from El Salvador who wouldn’t give him what he wanted: a sexual relationship. Kulla also attempted to contact three young female hunger strikers last summer in downtown Raleigh who chose to speak out for the DREAM Act.

Does this sound like the power you want the police in your community to have?

We need to you sign this petition against North Carolina’s HB11, which would ban undocumented students from attending public colleges and universities in North Carolina. Amazingly, it wouldn’t stop taking their tax money that helps pay for public services. You can also call NC Speaker Thom Tillis at 919-733-3451 or toll free at 800-567-2285.

Georgia needs you to sign this petition against HB59, a bill that would do the same in that state.

Yesterday, Virginia won its battle to keep the school doors open. So can we.

This is great news.

HB1465, which would have required public colleges and universities in Virginia to write policies denying enrollment to undocumented immigrants, was decisively shot down today in the state Senate.

Isabel Castillo, who graduated magna cum laude from Eastern Mennonite University in 2009, gave testimony on the legislation before the Senate Courts and Justice Subcommittee (Video via VA Interfaith Center):

The Committee also shot down House Bill 2332, which would have required local law officials to enforce federal immigration law. No small victory there, either.

Castillo is a co-founder of DREAMActivist Virginia, which along with us is part of the new National Immigrant Youth Alliance. Castillo was also one of several DREAMers arrested during a sit-in in Washington D.C. last year. If you’re on Facebook, take a minute to congratulate Virginia on their victory.

Don’t forget that we’ve got to win against HB11, a bill here in North Carolina that would do the same thing as HB1465. Sign the petition To help bring the victories southward.

Georgia also needs your help. Sign this petition to fight against HB59.

Donate & Subscribe

Donate here. Donations help us travel around the state and purchase materials for actions and events. You can also subscribe to our mailing list.

@NCDREAMTeam

  • @joshabla xoxoxo!#FWYH 15 hours ago
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