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Viridiana is in JROTC at Enloe High. Her dream is to join the Navy.

Viridiana is in JROTC at Enloe High. Her dream is to join the Navy.

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.

Viridiana at the We Need Our License Back rally at the NCDOT.

Viridiana at the We Need Our License Back rally at the NCDOT.

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. 

Monserrat at Securing Our Own Families Training

Monserrat at Securing Our Own Families Training

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.

Monserrat at the We Want Our License Rally at the NCDOT

Monserrat at the We Want Our License Rally at the NCDOT

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?

What: Driving Without Fear / Manejando Sin Miedo Rally

Where: DMV on 2431 Spring Forest Road, North Raleigh, NC, 27615

Time: 3 pm

I got this in my inbox yesterday:
 
ICE detainee passes away at Conroe Regional Medical Center in Houston
 
HOUSTON — A Honduran national, who has been in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since Nov. 5, 2012, passed away Friday at Conroe Regional Medical Center (CRMC) due to lymphoma and related complications.
 
Pablo Ortiz-Matamoros, 25, was transferred to ICE custody from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Nov. 5.  On Jan. 29, Ortiz-Matamoros was admitted to CRMC for jaundice, lethargy and weight loss. He passed away Feb. 8 at about 1p.m. (CST).
 
Ortiz-Matamoros’ next of kin was by his side at the time of his passing.
 
Consistent with ICE protocol, the appropriate state health and local law enforcement agencies have also been informed, along with consular officials from Honduras.
 
Ortiz-Matamoros is the second detainee to pass away in ICE custody in fiscal year 2013.
# ICE #
 
As I read and re-read, I don’t even know what to feel anymore…sad, angry, happy that Pablo, if even in death, finally gets relief from the hell he must have been in while in immigration custody. We often hear of detained people in desperate need of medical attention and just like in Pablo’s case, “consistent with ICE protocol”, too little, too late is done. A 25 year old is gone just like that. He was my age. Most likely he had a huge responsibility over his head to ensure survival for his family. Where are they left now? Who has a real answer for them when all that can be talked about, by advocates and the Obama administration, are talking points for a superficial immigration reform. Keep your script people.    
 
My thoughts go out to Pablo Ortiz-Matamoros’ family and loved ones. I can’t even begin to imagine the rage they must feel. 
 
In memory of Pablo, I’m signing these petitions and making the following calls. Hope you can join me.
 
Adrian is peeing blood and is in need of urgent surgery: 
http://action.dreamactivist.org/oklahoma/adrian/
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Flavio Ramos Cruz needs surgery: 
http://action.dreamactivist.org/northcarolina/flavio/
 
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Isaias Valles Castrejon’s family needs him. 
http://action.dreamactivist.org/northcarolina/isaias/
 
 
And more! 
Gregorio: http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/gregorio/
His children with medical needs need him now more than ever. 
 
Miguel Caldo: http://action.dreamactivist.org/dui/
No one deserves the pain and trauma of deportation.
 
 
 
 
 

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!

For media inquiries on the case of Lorena Yanez-Mata, contact Jose Rico at (919) 802-0508. 

As of 4:30 pm this afternooon, an immigration judge in Charlotte signed an order to administratively close Lorena Yanez-Mata’s case. This would not have been possible without your petition signatures, emails, and calls. Thank you all for your support!

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Time Warner Cable never put out a statement in support of Lorena despite the fact that they were the reason she and her daughter went through this nightmare. So before you switch to Time Warner Cable, think again! Send them one last email telling them to put out a statement in support of their illegal immigrant customers. Jack Stanley is the TWC Triad Region President: jack.stanley@twcable.com. Also email Susan Leepson, their communications representative: susan.leepson@twcable.com.

If you’re illegal, you could be the next Lorena. It’s up to all of us to hold companies, like politicians, accountable. We are the reason they have their millions and they need to treat us with the respect we deserve as consumers and human beings. Let this be an example for us all that just because we’re illegal and cannot vote, does not mean we are voiceless and powerless. We are our own voice. We are our own power. Never forget that.

Below is a letter from Jeff to Time Warner Cable in support of Lorena Yanez-Mata, immigrant mother now facing deportation after a company representative turned her in to the police after setting up and paying for cable service. If you think this is wrong, you too can pledge to unsubscribe from TWC. Send us your letters to TWC at dreamteamnc@gmail.com. Thanks for your support! 

Dear Mr. Stanley and Ms. Leepson,

My name is Jeff Shaw, and earlier this week I found myself in one of those situations where the timing makes you wonder if something was meant to happen.

Currently, I have Frontier Internet. Their service is awful. On a good day I get 3mbps download speed, and those good days are few. Since Frontier took over from Verizon in Durham, I’ve been really displeased.

On Monday, my girlfriend and I finally decided we’d had it and were going to make the switch to Time Warner. I made the call. I gleefully anticipated download speeds approaching 30 mbps, not 3. Given that your two companies are my only two options, I felt it was a no-brainer — especially because the prices are comparable.

Then, I read this: http://action.dreamactivist.org/northcarolina/lorena/

Is it really Time Warner Cable’s policy to turn in undocumented people so they can be arrested and deported?

I think this incident is outrageous, especially since the outcome involves the likely deportation of a young mother who hasn’t committed any crime. This will split up her family and leave a seven-year-old motherless. I could get into the broader immigration policy ramifications, but the main thing is this: it seems that your company took the initiative in destroying this family’s life.

If this is not your policy — if it were the actions of a rogue employee — I would suggest TWC immediately move to condemn this deportation and discipline the employee. If TWC doesn’t send a clear statement in this regard, it will be difficult to prevent another such tragedy.

If this *is* your policy, please let me assure you that I’m not the only one who finds it reprehensible.

In conclusion, let me be clear: Your company has a better product at comparable prices. I am addicted to the Internet and slow download speeds are really frustrating for me. I was ready to make the switch.

But I’d rather put up with bad service and a poor product than support a company that wants to deport my friends and neighbors. Until Time Warner Cable takes steps to make this right, I can’t in good conscience use your service.

Sincerely,

Jeff Shaw

ATENCION ILEGALES: No Contraten Servicio de Cable con Time Warner - Los Van a Deportar!

timewarnerdeports

Tell ICE that Lorena is a low-priority case that should be closed immediately because all she wanted was cable service!

 

Single mother Lorena Yanez-Mata (A# 205-214-279) could be separated from her 7 year old US citizen daughter tomorrow when she goes before an immigration judge in Charlotte. Yesterday, Time Warner Cable announced the company “has no interest in charges being brought against Ms. Yanez-Mata”. TWC remains responsible, however, for the deportation proceedings of Ms. Yanez-Mata. Lorena told Time Warner staff when signing up for cable over the phone that she did not have a legitimate Social Security number but the representative told her to use the false one she uses for work purposes and to come into the store to finalize the application. Sounds like a set up to us.

Time Warner Cable issued a statement saying it does not routinely turn over customer’s information to law enforcement. So, why is Lorena in deportation proceedings again?

Email Time Warner Cable at jack.stanley@twcable.com and susan.leepson@twcable.com and urge them to do the following:

- TWC should tell ICE to immediately close Lorena’s case because she should not be in deportation proceedings in the first place. TWC should release a statement of support for Lorena before her upcoming immigration court date on December 13th (TOMORROW at 8:30 am @ Immigration Court: 5701 Executive Center Drive, Suite 400. Charlotte, North Carolina 28212)

- TWC should also tell Senator Kay Hagan to intervene in the case of Lorena. Senator Hagan has the power to write a letter of support for Lorena addressed to ICE telling them to exercise favorable prosecutorial discretion.

Don’t forget to SIGN and SHARE the petition too!

Thanks for your support!

After the outpouring of community support, Time Warner Cable has told Lorena Yanez-Mata (A# 205-214-279) and her attorneys that her charges have been dropped.

In a statement sent over email, TWC said the following:

“TWC has no interest in charges being brought against Ms. Yanez-Mata.”

This is great news as it means your calls and emails have made the difference. However, Lorena still remains in deportation proceedings. Her second immigration court date is in just 2 days. Lorena could be torn apart from her 7 year old US citizen daughter simply because a TWC representative felt it was necessary to set up Lorena for deportation. So, we still need your help to make sure Lorena and her family can put this behind them and spend the holidays together.

Email Time Warner Cable at jack.stanley@twcable.com and susan.leepson@twcable.com and tell them Lorena and her daughter still need 2 things from them:

- TWC should tell ICE to immediately close Lorena’s case because she should not be in deportation proceedings in the first place. TWC should release a statement of support for Lorena before her upcoming immigration court date on December 13th (in TWO days!)

- TWC should also tell Senator Kay Hagan to intervene in the case of Lorena. Senator Hagan has the power to write a letter of support for Lorena addressed to ICE telling them to exercise favorable prosecutorial discretion.

Lorena YANEZ-MATA & daughter

Also, if you haven’t yet, SIGN and SHARE Lorena’s petition! And we hope you’ll make it out to today’s rally at the Time Warner Cable office where Lorena was arrested: 316 Huffman Mill Road in Burlington at 3 pm. 

Thanks for your support, y’all!

On July 30, Lorena walked into the Alamance County Time Warner Cable office to apply for cable service. The representative who assisted her asked her to complete some paperwork and to present a form of identification. The representative went to her office for several minutes telling Lorena she was making copies of the paperwork. Finally, the representative came out and returned the I.D. and asked Lorena to pay for the deposit and first month of services. As soon as Lorena paid, a police officer came from the back room and arrested her. She was taken to Alamance County Jail and was then transferred to ICE custody and placed in deportation proceedings. She is scheduled to appear in court on December 13 and could be given a final order of deportation.

Is it Time Warner Cable’s policy to work with Alamance County law enforcement to entrap undocumented people so they can be arrested and deported? Recent findings by the Department of Justice show that Sheriff Terry Johnson and his department have engaged in egregious discriminatory practices against Latinos living in Alamance County. Why is Lorena facing deportation and separation from her 7 year old daughter when all she wanted was cable service?

Tell Time Warner Cable’s President Jack Stanley to stop collaborating with Alamance County law enforcement and stop targeting immigrants who want cable service @ 336-665-0160 or sent him an email: jack.stanley@twcable.com

Lorena came to the United States in 2004 and has been living in North Carolina for the past 8 years. She is a single mother of a 7 year old U.S. citizen child. If Lorena is deported, her daughter will be separated from the only person who provides her with emotional and financial support. Most importantly, her daughter will be left without a mother to care for her.

According to the Morton Memo, Lorena is a low-priority case and should be granted favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Lorena has been living in the U.S. for 8 years, has a 7 year old U.S. citizen daughter. Lorena only went to the Time Warner Cable’s store to get cable service for her family. Instead, a police officer came out from the office and arrested her. Why is this company working with the police to target undocumented immigrants? Lorena needs to stay in the U.S. to continue to provide for her daughter.

Help Lorena by calling ICE director John Morton at 202-732-300 and signing her petition online: http://action.dreamactivist.org/northcarolina/lorena/

Lorena YANEZ-MATA & daughter

 

MIGUEL

Miguel Tzitzios was being held at North Georgia Detention Center despite being a low priority case. So much for Obama keeping his promises. But with your help we were able to do it. Miguel was released from North Georgia TODAY, after almost 2 months in detention! Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, made the calls, and supported him in every way possible. This proves the power we have as a community! We will keep you updated on his case. Thanks again for taking action! 

His daughter Cristina Tzitzios sends this note:

Primero le quiero dar Gracias a Dios porque sin el nada de esto estaria pasando. Pero tambien le quiero dar gracias a todos los que nos apoyaron en esta dura jornada! Sin sus llamadas, sus firmas, y el apoyo esto no hubiera sucedido. Gracias NC DREAM TEAM, you guys are amazing and do great things for families like mine!! Porfin termino esta pesadilla y mi papi estara con nosotros esta noche! La fe es lo ultimo que se pierde! I love y’all!.”

Miguel was released from North Georgia Detention Center, the same state where several other families are being held.  Take Marisela’s case for example, ICE showed up at Marisela’s home in October asking for her cousin. She was taken into custody after providing her consular ID card and is now being held at Irwin Detention Center in Georgia. Marisela is a DREAMer and sole provider for her US citizen daughter.  President Obama has said he is not deporting DREAMers. So why is Marisela still detained?

So make sure to SIGN and SHARE the petition to release Marisela! Make sure to call ICE to tell them to release her immediately. Let’s bring Marisela home for Christmas!

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