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Earlier today we submitted a complaint to ICE regarding the bullying and intimidation NC Dreamer Felipe Mendoza (A# 206-252-347) is suffering while detained at Otay Detention Facility. Read below for the full statement: 

To Whom It May Concern:
The NC Dream Team has been in contact with the family of Felipe de Jesus Molina Mendoza (A# 206-252-347), who is, presently, detained at the Otay Detention Facility in San Diego, California. Felipe is awaiting a response regarding his request for asylum. 
Felipe is, currently, suffering bullying and harassment by detention center staff. His family in Durham, North Carolina is very concerned for his physical and mental well-being. We are filing this complaint regarding the treatment Felipe is receiving in detention, which goes against Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention guidelines. 
Felipe suffered intimidation and bullying from detention center staff on Friday, April 4th, 2014 when he was called outside of his cell. Officer Perry, Manager of Unit BG at the Otay Detention Facility called Felipe, in addition to two other detainees, out of their rooms and asked if they were gay. When Felipe and the others said yes, Officer Perry went on to insult them. Officer Perry yelled that the detainees were touching each other based on accusations by Officer M. Carini. Felipe denied the allegations and asked for proof. (The detention facility is equipped with surveillance cameras that can reveal what transpired.) Officer Perry, however, got louder, told Felipe to shut up and stop talking and threatened to put him and the other detainees in solitary confinement. Since that day, Felipe is afraid and anxious of being sent to isolation for being gay, the very reason he is requesting asylum in the first place. 
ICE has full knowledge of Felipe’s sexual orientation and the bullying, intimidation and harassment he has experienced in Mexico and is seeking refuge from. Testimony of this has, already, been provided in his credible fear interviews. To continue with his detention at this time without addressing the treatment he has received by staff at the Otay Detention Facility is a serious violation of human rights.
ICE has yet to issue a response. In the meantime, Felipe fears being sent to solitary confinement or another form of retaliation. This is a call to any and all organizations in North Carolina who stand for the rights of those who identify as LGBT. Felipe needs your help. You can call his sister Evelynth at (919) 884-5316 or email her at The family is currently seeking statements of support from various organizations as well as the support of their congressman, GK Butterfield. To date, Congressman Butterfield has also failed to support Felipe’s plight back home to Durham, North Carolina. Read more details about Felipe’s story and sign the petition online at


Elisa Benitez: 919-883-6962

Riverside HS Graduate Seeks Humanitarian Parole

Former Durham Resident Fears He Will be Victim of Violence

Durham, NC – Felipe de Jesus Molina Mendoza, a 2009 graduate of Riverside High School, will be formally requesting humanitarian parole at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California at Noon, today.

Felipe de Jesus moved to Durham at the age of eight to join his mother who wanted to give him the chance to grow, find a career and become someone in life.

Felipe de Jesus studied hard and graduated from Riverside High School. When it came time to apply for college, North Carolina did not recognize him as a resident. As his friends chose colleges and applied for scholarships, Felipe was overwhelmed with sadness at being left behind. His family could not afford out-of-state tuition, which was more than twice as expensive, and he did not qualify for financial aid due to his status. He gave up on his life in the United States and returned to Mexico to continue his education.

Since arriving in Mexico City, Felipe de Jesus has struggled to earn enough money to continue his education. He experiences regular verbal abuse, even from police officers, because he is gay. In addition to this abuse, he fears he could be a target of violence because of his sexual orientation. He has grown more fearful as kidnappings, robberies and killings increase in the city around him. Felipe de Jesus refuses to give up on his dreams of going to college and having a career, but he needs his family’s support to fulfill those dreams.

Felipe de Jesus is the target of violence because of his sexual orientation.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, to qualify for humanitarian parole an individual must face a “compelling emergency.”

We urge Customs and Border Protection to grant Felipe de Jesus humanitarian parole immediately.

For more info:


***A vigil organized by his family, friends and community supporting Felipe and more families within the #BringThemHome campaign will be held TODAY:

Where: Iglesia Hispana Emmanuel, 2504 N Roxboro St., Durham, NC 27704

When: TODAY, Thursday March 13th @ 6pm



Viridiana Martinez

C: (919) 704-0599

Raleigh, NC – The Department of Public Safety released an immigration study this past Friday, March 7th. The study concludes:

- Issuing driver permits to undocumented immigrants will make North Carolina roads safer

- North Carolina’s economy is highly dependent on immigrant labor and consumer power

- Punitive measures against undocumented immigrants will lead to labor shortages, as happened in Georgia, which could harm North Carolina’s economic recovery.

The North Carolina Dream Team believes immigrants play a vital role in this state’s growing economy. We believe we can learn from the mistakes of those states’ which enacted anti-immigrant laws in 2011. We are smarter. We are better.

Alternatively, implementing enforcement measures will require additional tax dollars at a time when the state is looking to prioritize spending elsewhere.

This study acknowledges the contributions of undocumented immigrant families to this state’s growing economy. We can lead the country in becoming a thriving state that welcomes immigrants.

We encourage legislators to take action in the upcoming short session by passing the RECLAIM NC Act and allow immigrants the opportunity to legally drive, again. Driving permits for the hardworking undocumented families of North Carolina are long overdue.


The North Carolina Dream Team is the first undocumented youth led organization in North Carolina.

Local Immigrant Families Come Together to Support Their Loved Ones Crossing the Border

#BringThemHome campaign offers hope, a chance to fight fear of deportation

 Charlotte, NC — The NC Dream Team is holding a ‘Coming Out of the Shadows’ event to support local families whose loved ones are returning to the United States from Mexico as part of the national #BringThemHome campaign.

WHAT: Vigil For Loved Ones Coming Home

WHERE: 100 E. Trade St, Charlotte, NC

WHEN: MONDAY, March 10th @ 6:00PM 

 This month, the Obama Administration will hit its two-millionth deportation. March is month undocumented youth have used for the past several years to declare themselves ‘undocumented and unafraid’. March is a special time for the movement, when many participated in ‘coming out’ rallies, speaking about their undocumented status publicly for the first time.

Families gathered last Tuesday in Durham, NC at Iglesia El Buen Pastor as family members of loved ones returning home declared themselves as ‘Undocumented & Unafraid.’ Families will gather once more in Charlotte, NC on the eve of their loved ones coming back.

NC Bring Them HomeFamilies of Loved Ones Coming Home to North Carolina

 “This year, we will use our Coming Out of the Shadows rallies to tell the movement that the fight to keep families together does not end with deportation,” says Elisa Benitez, a member of the NC Dream Team. “Our community is coming together to support the families whose loved ones are coming home.”

This will be the third time the #BringThemHome campaign has fought for immigrants who were deported or forced to leave their homes in the United States. On Monday, they will begin the long journey back to their loved ones across the country after crossing the border in San Diego.

The participants in this third border-crossing were deported or forced to leave the United States because of programs supported by the Obama Administration like 287g and Secure Communities. State laws denying immigrants access to a college education, jobs, or housing also made life incredibly difficult. Some were just tired of living in fear, and returned. However, upon leaving their homes, they found life even more difficult.

The #BringThemHome campaign is the only way these families can be reunited. We will fight until everyone whose lives were built on this side of the border have a chance to return home.

For more info:


NC DPS: Study Regarding Immigration Measures

“Several industries in North Carolina reported a dependence on immigrant labor..” 

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Contact: Viridiana Martinez

Cell: (919) 704-0599


Father of Eastway and Northern students scheduled for deportation on Tuesday night

Supporters will meet at 7pm at El Centro Hispano in Durham, NC

Durham, NC – On January 27th, 2014, supporters and community members will gather to urge Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop the deportation of Hugo Leonel Perez Ramirez (A# 077-665-965) who is set to be deported this Tuesday night, January 28th. If deported, Hugo Leonel will be separated from his wife, who is recovering from arm surgery and has diabetes, and youngest son, Rhodinson, who is a U.S. citizen.

On December 23, 2013 in the morning, ICE raided the home of Hugo Leonel and his family at 5am while they were sleeping. Without a knock at the door, ICE entered Hugo Leonel’s home, walked up the stairs, handcuffed and dragged him out. Hugo’s older sons cried and pleaded for ICE agents to take them instead of their father, but their cries were ignored. Their father was ripped away from them and their family was torn apart that morning. Hugo Leonel is, currently, being held in Stewart Detention Center and faces imminent deportation.

Hugo Leonel came to North Carolina from Guatemala in 2006 in search of a better life. His first attempt to reunite with his family was in 2000 but he was caught at the border and deported. According to the 2011 Morton Memo, he is a low-priority case and based on Acting ICE Director John Sandweg’s recent memo, Hugo Leonel’s deportation should be stopped immediately as he is the only breadwinner for his children and wife, Edilma.

WHEN: Monday, January 27, 2014

TIME: 7pm

WHERE: El Centro Hispano, 600 E Main St, Durham, NC

WHO: NC Dream Team and El Centro Hispano

For more information, visit the online petition at:


The North Carolina Dream Team is the first independent undocumented youth-led organization in the Carolinas.


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://

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:// 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. action-applicant_n_3769083.html

• About 72% of DACA applicants had resided in the United States at least 10 years when they applied 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

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.”

V. Conclusion

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:

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:

Thank you for your support.

Sunday, December 22nd,  2013



Jose Rico


DREAMers Push for In-State-Tuition by Christmas

Undocumented Youth to Rally Outside AG Roy Cooper 

Raleigh, NC—On Tuesday of last week, Rep. Marcus Brandon formerly requested the Office of the Attorney General Roy Cooper for a legal written opinion weather Undocumented youth beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are eligible to receive in-state tuition in the State of North Carolina.

Undocumented Youth led groups like the NC Dream Team, Immigrant Youth Forum, and the One State One Rate Campaign issued a press conference last Thursday announcing the news to the community and press about the ask to AG Roy Cooper. The campaign to get the word out to the Attorney General has been escalating, with a petition, calls, and undocumented students stressing the importance to get in-state tuition rates for the upcoming semester, but it hasn’t been enough.

Undocumented Students, community supporters, teachers, and families will be gathering at the Office of the Attorney General.


Monday, December 23rd, 2013 @ 11:30am


NC Department of Justice

Office of the Attorney General

114 W Edenton St

Raleigh, NC

“I am worried, I am frustrated, that when January comes around undocumented students will still be paying out-of state tuition. It is simply unjust. It is simply unfair. We are graduates of N.C high schools. North Carolina is our home and we should not be treated as out-of-state students. Attorney General Roy Cooper, we need in-state-tuition Now!” Said, DACA student from Creedmoor, NC

For more info please visit and

FB event:


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