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Secure Your Education Presentation

This SYE Presentation will explain the process for a North Carolina employer to sponsor their NC employee, allowing the employee to pay in state tuition at community colleges.

If you have any questions or would like a workshop in your community, contact us:

Title your email: “SYE Question – (Your Name)
or “SYE Workshop – (Your City)”

Honduran Tamales for Sale this Sunday!

Special thanks to Don Becerra, Lagos Meat Market, Homegrown City Farms, Ivan Almonte, La Loma Panaderia, Peluqueria Dalana, and Daniel Teodoro for making this sale possible!

Sign the online petition below to thank the NC House of Representatives for voting in favor of House Bill 786-the RECLAIM NC Act and to ask them to override Governors McCrory’s Veto against it.

HB 786


The North Carolina DREAM Team is an organization composed of undocumented immigrant youth and allies who are dedicated to the creation of a sustainable, community-led immigrant rights movement in North Carolina. We aim to help undocumented youth recognize their individual and collective power to activate their communities.


Call Charlotte ICE @ (704) 248-9605

Call DC ICE @ 202-732-3000 or 202-732-3100

Sample Script: “Hi, I’m calling to ask ICE to stop Fidela Medel Lopez’ (A 200-970-777) deportation. She is the mother of 5 children, two of which are US citizens and one of those, Erick, is a special needs child who suffers from severe autism. Fidela is low priority for deportation and Erick needs a stable home alongside his mother. Deporting Fidela threatens Erick’s health and puts him directly in harm’s way. Stop Fidela’s deportation now!”


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:

Community Colleges Guidelines PicThe UNC-System also has a similar policy, which you can read here:

UNC-System Undocumented PolicyNow, 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:

Wake Tech email 1Wake Tech email 2If 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.

Marco Cervantes and Maria Alejo were arrested about an hour ago at Rep. Mel Watt’s office in Charlotte, NC. The dreamers were at the office supporting the efforts of Norma, mother of Luis Leon who is one of the dream 9 still detained at Eloy Detention Center in Arizona. Norma, Luis’s community and friends are seeking the support of Rep. Mel Watt who has said he supports dreamers in the past. Why is he turning his back on the #dream9 now?


Marco Cervantes is a dreamer and undocumented youth leader from Chapel Hill, NC.


Maria Alejo is a dreamer and an undocumented youth leader from Raleigh, NC.

A total of 42 representatives, including Rep. David Price, have endorsed the #Dream9 and have called on President Obama to #BringThemHome and release them from Eloy Detention Center.

Marco is an undocumented youth leader living in Carrboro, North Carolina working towards tuition equity for undocumented students.

Marco is an undocumented youth leader living in Carrboro, North Carolina working towards tuition equity for undocumented students. Image courtesy of Steve Pavey.

I don’t think that anyone heard me
backing out of my driveway
I thought that all my worries were left with the love for my mom
Ready to turn the ignition I am stopped by a siren
Knowing that I was in for some trouble I let out an exhale full of my demons
With all the bad intentions out of my system
I can finally distinguish the sound of the siren
It was my mom crying out my name from the second floor window
As I walked into my house
I was getting prepared for a fight with the greatest fighter I knew
On my toes and with excuses as my only line of defense I approached her
I threw the first jab
hoping to win with golden gloves I asked her the golden question
What am I gonna do with my life?
My words made us both see stars
the brightest of which emerged from the corner of her eye
I knew it was truly a star because of the way it seemed like gravity didn’t affect it
With our sights aligned she came back at me
Que hay de mal con tu vida?
Not being able to slip the question I was brought back to June 9th, 2012

All of my peers dressed in black
Families coming together to celebrate
the accomplishments of their childrens last steps before college
But for me it was something different
For me it was the death of my education
After 13 years of being told that only with hard work
will you be where you want to be
I was buried under 13 feet of false hope
Every foot was a year that I spent with a concealed identity
An identity that was finally exposed as I walked across the stage
Finally face to face with the man in the black gown
and a scythe as sharp as my cap
I embraced him and I shook his hand
And in return he gave me a death certificate
A fraudulent diploma

My mothers words brought me back to reality
Que hay de mal con tu vida?
I’m not where I want to be ma
Y donde quieres estar mijo?
I wanna be in college isn’t that why you brought us here?
No mijo, los trajimos para que no tuvieran la misma vida que nosotros
What a life I have
Looking around me I see an army of tombstones
All these graves filled with the bodies of those who one day aspired to be
Engineers doctors lawyers and educators
Those who were shoved into boxes by
presidents politicians citizens

Topped off with shovels full of anti immigrant rhetoric where
Americans were told that anyone darker must be below you
But I refuse to stay below
I am risen with the remaining strength of those sharing this cold ground with me
I am risen with the roaring power of Martins voice that allows me to scream
that I am UNDOCUMENTED and that I am UNAFRAID
I am risen with the fortitude of Pancho Villas legs that stood firmly over his land
I am risen with the resilience of Armando sitting beside me in Honors classes
Knowing that this might be the last lesson they agree to teach us

I give some strength to all those in the same situation
The strength to resurrect and make these dreams a reality



Contact: Viridiana Martinez        

Cell phone: 919/704-0599




Allowing Undocumented Immigrants to Drive Again Moves NC Forward


Raleigh, NC – Since the announcement in favor of the RECLAIM NC Act in April of this year, the North Carolina Dream Team has been working to inform the undocumented community of the opportunity HB786 gives to allow them to legally drive again. House Bill 786 would give licenses back to undocumented immigrants in our state. Therefore, this bill represents a step in the right direction.

Despite the controversial provisions of the bill, the issuance of driver licenses again represents protection from detention and deportation for undocumented immigrants which is for many their biggest fear. This year alone, we have fought alongside 8 immigrant families who faced separation due to deportation proceedings started for driving without a license.

Furthermore, allowing undocumented immigrants to drive again is good for families, for safety, and it’s good for business.

 Online Petition:


The North Carolina DREAM Team is an organization composed of undocumented immigrant youth and allies who are dedicated to the creation of a sustainable, community-led immigrant rights movement in North Carolina. We aim to help undocumented youth recognize their individual and collective power to activate their communities.


I, Cruz Nunez, am an undocumented student at Chapel Hill High who will face financial barriers when the time comes to pay for college. I want to see the problem improved or even solved, for all the students who deserve to get educated and want change. This can happen if HB904 passes because this bill would allow undocumented students like me, who have attended North Carolina high schools to receive in-state tuition rates. I contacted my school system’s Superintendent and convinced him, along with the rest of the school board, to show support for House Bill 904, a tuition equity bill for immigrant students.

I didn’t do it alone and it didn’t happen overnight. Just know that you can do it too. Here’s how.

Follow these guidelines:

  • Find out who the board members of your school system are. Get their contact information which is usually located online. I first emailed the chair of our school board who suggested that we reach out to the Superintendent.
  • Email the Superintendent. The message should be formal, with a salutation/greeting, use of his/her formal name, and a respectful tone. Be clear in getting your message across. Try this: introduce who you are and talk a little about yourself. Introduce the problem of unequal tuition rates and how you are directly affected. Carry a tone of confidence, persistence, and change for the better. Finally, ask for their support and ask to set up a meeting time to discuss the issue.
  • If the Superintendent does not reply or makes communication difficult, send your message to the email address meant for public concerns, to let the whole board know you want change and their support. If the Board members don’t see your issue as important, get anyone and everyone to sign a petition in support of HB 904. Pressure them to meet with you.
  • When the Superintendent responded to my initial email, I scheduled a meeting through his secretary. We met in my school library immediately after school with another student who was a recent graduate.
  • When you meet with one or all of the Board members, be formal and present yourself seriously and intelligently but not aggressive or cocky. Make to state facts on current events, like how there are slightly over a dozen states that have enacted a bill just like this, and how unequal tuition rates are economic walls for immigrant families. Bring facts. It’s hard to be convincing when you have no idea what you are talking about. Remind them that YOU are students in THEIR schools.
  • If there is resistance to show support, pressure them into believing that the people will be disappointed in School Board’s lack of support. Make it clear to them that tuition equity needs to be addressed and fought for.
  • Once on board, our Superintendent asked an ally in the school system to draft up a letter saying that they support undocumented students and the passing of HB904. We helped edit the wording of this letter to reflect our needs and the urgency of our situation. Your superintendent might not write their own letter, provide them with a sample or work with an ally in your district who can draft it for them.
  • We then attended our public School Board meeting to urge the board to approve this letter of support. School board meetings often have space for public comment, sign up ahead of time so they know you are coming!
  • If possible, have immigrant students who are or will be affected by the unfair tuition rates speak out and tell their story in order to show that the issue is not a distant problem, it happens in your own schools! Three of us spoke at our meeting, the school board members were really moved by our stories.
  • After hearing our stories, the school board voted unanimously to approve the letter of support.
  • Be creative and find other ways to get the School Board’s support if the ones mentioned above do not work. Remember, if your plan failed once, don’t trash it. Try it again, it might work next time. Try to improve a plan, or combine it with another to get a more desired result. The point is – do not give up.

Here is the Chapel Hill/Carrboro School Board’s letter of support for HB904:


My name is Michelle Valladarez. I’m 20 years old and I’m undocumented. When I was eight years old, my father made some choices that put my brother and I in a dangerous situation in Honduras, where I was born. Daily I would get pulled out of class and questioned on my father’s whereabouts. We were no longer safe, not even in school. Fearing the worst, my mother decided to bring my brother to the United States. A year later, she sent for me. Luckily, my brother was able to enter the country by plane. I had to cross the border. At such a young age I had heard plenty about the terrible things that happen when trying to cross into the US. I was terrified. It took nearly two months to get to North Carolina, but finally I was reunited with my family.

I was excited to be here and excited to return to school. Since I had attended a bilingual school in Honduras, English was not a barrier for me. But even though I knew English and felt like I had a better future ahead of me, my excitement quickly died when I saw how difficult the life of an illegal immigrant is. Everywhere I went I was faced with racism and in school I got bullied plenty. It felt like it could not get any worse.. until I got to high school and had to start thinking about college that is.

Michelle Valladarez is an undocumented youth from Zebulon, NC. Her dream is to join the Air Force.

Michelle Valladarez is an undocumented youth from Zebulon, NC. Her dream is to join the Air Force.

My first two years of high school were fairly smooth. I had good grades and developed a love and appreciation for the military after I joined AFJROTC. Once I got to my junior year though, depression slowly began to sink in. It hit me that I might not be able to attend college or join the military. I reached out to recruiters and my school counselor in hopes of finding an answer. My school counselors had never been faced with this situation since most students live in the shadows and in fear because of their immigration status. They didn’t know what to do any more than I did. My parents began to share my frustration and fear. They suggested I go back to Honduras or to go study in Mexico. This is an issue that most immigrant students face. In their frustration, parents lose sight of what is truly important to us and instead of being supportive their solution to the problem is to send us back to our country of origin. I refused to give up. I refused to go back.

Even though my Junior year felt tough, I decided to suck it up and give my last year of high school the best I had. The biggest highlight of my senior year was becoming Group Commander of my JROTC Unit and exceeding expectations for our Unit inspection. That brought us to the top 10% of all AFJROTC units in the country. My dream of being in the military grew even more and I looked into the eligibility requirements for an Air Force Scholarship. Out of all the graduating Seniors, I was the only one who really had a chance at that scholarship. But there was one thing missing: papers. My heart was crushed and has been ever since.

After high school I went to college for a year. Wesleyan College, a private school, had given me a scholarship to cover some of the tuition costs and my step-dad agreed to pay what was left. My step-dad is also an illegal immigrant. His job wasn’t steady enough to afford my schooling, so I had to to quit for a year and work to pay off my tuition. As an illegal immigrant it is hard to find a decent job and sometimes you get stuck working for people that underpay you and don’t respect you. That’s why I am thankful for DACA and I can now have a better job and drive without fear. But DACA is only temporary and I still can’t afford paying out-of-state tuition. I also cannot enlist in the military despite having legal presence through deferred action. I also live in fear that my brother will also have to pay the price of being an undocumented student and that my mom or step-dad could get detained for driving with an expired license they can’t renew because NC doesn’t issue licenses to illegal immigrants.

Michelle graduated from Southern Nash High in 2011. Because she's undocumented, she could not get the Air Force scholarship despite the fact that she met all other requirements.

Michelle graduated from Southern Nash High in 2011. Because she’s undocumented, she could not get the Air Force scholarship despite the fact that she met all other requirements.

It has been rough and I’ve had to give up a lot of opportunities due to a lack of “legal status”. But I still have hopes that there will be a silver lining. I am not giving up, and neither should any undocumented youth. We deserve to get an education, to be able to have the job of our choice, and we deserve to have the option of joining the armed forces. But we have to fight for our rights. They’re not just gonna fall from the sky. And that is why I’ve decided to join the NC Dream Team and fight alongside other undocumented youth to improve the situation of our community.

I share my story with you to let you know that you are not alone. But above all to tell you that we must persevere in the face of adversity. I’m a Military DREAMer and my story does not end here.

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