A Friday event backs the legislation, which could be voted on as early as Saturday
RALEIGH (Dec. 17, 2010) --
On Friday, a broad North Carolina coalition called on lawmakers in North Carolina and elsewhere to support the DREAM Act in a vote that could come as early as tomorrow.
The Adelante Education Coalition and the NC NAACP held a press conference featuring young people directly affected by the legislation, Martin Rodriguez of Yadkin County and Sianneth Sanchez of Mecklenburg County; Felipe Matos, national organizer for presente.org; North Carolina State Representative Paul Luebke; and the president of the NC NAACP, Rev. Dr. William Barber II.
"I'm kind of invisible and I cannot serve my community the way I want to. All we want is to live the American Dream of working hard and contributing to our communities," said Sianneth Sanchez, a UNC-Charlotte nursing student, who will graduate on Saturday. "The DREAM Act would give us that chance."
The DREAM Act, a bill passed by the U.S. House last week and up for a vote in the U.S. Senate, would allow certain young undocumented people who want to contribute to America have a path to citizenship.
"The place where I lived did not have livable conditions," said Martin Rodriguez, a college-age student. "That's why we came. It is an honor to live in the United States of America and my allegiance to this country isn't defined by my place of birth."
There are approximately 51,000 other young people in North Carolina who will be impacted by this common-sense legislation.
The DREAM Act - which stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act - has several requirements. A person must have entered the country before the age of 16; graduated high school or obtained a GED; have good moral character with no criminal record; and have at least five years of continuous presence in the U.S.
If someone meets those criteria, the DREAM Act would provide a window for them to either attend college towards obtaining a degree or complete at least two years of military service. If all of these conditions are met, the person would have the opportunity to adjust their conditional permanent residency status eventually to U.S. Citizenship.
"Allowing young people to dream is fundamental to what it means to be an American. We should encourage people who have worked hard and stayed away from trouble the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and that of their parents," said Rev. Dr. William Barber. "The DREAM Act would afford people this opportunity. That's why the NAACP strongly supports this bill and we urge Senators Hagan and Burr to do the right thing, the moral thing and the fair thing by voting Yes on the DREAM Act."
The DREAM Act will come up for a vote on Saturday.
"This is a matter of fairness, and many people in North Carolina support this bill," said Representative Paul Luebke.
Contact: Irene Godínez, 919-627-7511