Three good reasons to support the DREAM Act: Emilio, Carolina and Matias

Emilio, Carolina and Matias are three reasons among thousands to press for The DREAM Act. Brought to the United States as children and now in their teens and 20s, these young people are facing an uncertain future because they are undocumented through no fault of their own. Our immigration law currently has no mechanism to consider their special circumstances.

DREAM Act proponents at a May 2010 event in Minneapolis.
Photo: John Guttermann/CWS

By Carol Fouke-Mpoyo/CWS

Emilio, Carolina and Matias are three reasons among thousands to press for The DREAM Act.  Brought to the United States as children and now in their teens and 20s, these young people are facing an uncertain future because they are undocumented through no fault of their own.  Our immigration law currently has no mechanism to consider their special circumstances.  

The DREAM Act is bipartisan legislation that would create for them a pathway to Lawful Permanent Residence, eventual earned citizenship and an opportunity to contribute their talents to the United States. While legislative efforts stalled earlier this week, Congress could still vote on The DREAM Act yet this year.

  • Emilio Vicente, an ethnic Mayan from Guatemala, was brought to the United States at age 6.  He learned both English and Spanish here, and graduated high school with a 4.3 grade point average.  He wants to major in either political science or public policy at university.

    One day his father, who worked at a lumber yard, was in an accident at work that severed his spinal cord and left him paralyzed.  Emilio’s parents moved back to Guatemala, but he chose to stay in the United States, where he hopes to make his life and contribute to our diverse society.

  • Carolina Munoz, 16, was brought to the United States from Ecuador when she was 3 years old.  Since eighth grade, she has been in honors classes including honors English, biology, algebra, chemistry, physics, pre-calculus and Spanish.  She wants to go to a good college, but as an undocumented immigrant she is not eligible for federal financial aid and her working class family cannot afford the tuition.

    “I have been taught this is the land of freedom and the people here can fight for what they want and believe in,” Carolina said.  “So all in all, immigration laws should be acted upon because teens like me, who work hard every day and stress on how important education is and how far it can take you, should have the same opportunity as everyone else.  We should be able to have a regular job that is on the books and be able to obtain a driver’s license like every growing teen does."

  • Matias Ramos, now 24, also grew up as an undocumented immigrant.  He graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles a year and a half ago with financial help from his community, family and friends.  After graduation he moved to Washington, D.C., to advocate for immigrant youth like himself who are attempting to be recognized simply as human beings trying to make a life for themselves and their families in the United States.

    This past February, as he was returning from a conference in Minnesota, he was arrested and was given an immediate deportation order.  Through the pro bono work of a generous lawyer, he received a one-year deferment from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  Although this is good news, it still means that this bright and upstanding young man risks being forced out of the United States, where he would otherwise undoubtedly be a great asset.

If passed, The DREAM Act would give Emilio, Carolina, Matias and other immigrant young people who have grown up in U.S. communities the opportunity to learn and work and realize their potential – a “win-win” scenario for them and for the United States.

Urge your Senators and Representative to support The DREAM Act!  You can reach them through the Capital Switchboard Operator at 202-224-3121.  Read more at www.supportimmigrationreform.org

Media Contact:
Lesley Crosson, 212-870-2676, lcrosson@churchworldservice.org
Jan Dragin, 781-925-1526, jdragin@gis.net


Share/Save/Bookmark

Browse news release archive

 

All active news articles