News / USA

    Immigrant Students Lobby for a US Dream

    Peter Fedynsky
    ALBANY, New York - Millions of illegal immigrants have been drawn to the United States by employers looking for cheap labor.  Those who came with their parents as young children grow up culturally indistinguishable from their American-born peers.  But they are bluntly reminded of their status as undocumented outsiders when they apply for college financial assistance. A group of such students is trying to remedy the situation in New York State.

    Undocumented students from Lehman College in New York City don academic robes for a protest in the office of State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

    They are almost immediately ushered out, their protest being deemed illegal.  It came at the end of a day of lobbying for passage of the New York DREAM Act, legislation that would make undocumented students eligible for college loans.   

    The day began with a chartered bus ride to the state capital in Albany.  Melissa Garcia says dire economic circumstances in her native Colombia forced her mother to come to the United States 11 years ago.  “There are many undocumented youths who are brought here as early as six months.  They are babies.  They were not aware they were being brought, so going back is not a solution.  They do not know the language, they do not know their country.  This is what they call home," she said.

    “People want to know who we are," she said while leading a chant.

    The sponsor of New York's DREAM Act, State Senator Bill Perkins, told VOA the measure would lead to enactment of the federal DREAM Act, which would grant citizenship to undocumented students. “I think it will sort of light the movement, the flame of support, that I think will trigger similar DREAM Acts throughout the country and alert the national legislature, the government, congresspeople and the president that it’s time to pass the DREAM Act on the federal level," he said.

    The students plied the corridors of the state capitol building, reminding legislators that college graduates pay an average of $3,900 more in taxes every year than others.  But aides substituting for the state representatives appeared lukewarm.

    Assemblyman Steven Englebright expressed understanding for undocumented students,  but noted, “Even if they are capable of making significant contributions to this society, the initial political reaction is a negative one ... from some quarters.”

    Those quarters are the State Senate, where the Republican Party holds the majority.  Many Republicans nationwide oppose assistance to illegal immigrants.

    The students ended their day in Albany disappointed.  Their protest in the speaker’s office brought no immediate result.

    But they rallied again the following day outside of Speaker Silver’s Manhattan office, hoping he will schedule a vote on the act before the legislative session ends on June 21.  Approval would make New York the fourth state after Texas, California and New Mexico to grant college assistance for undocumented students.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    June 12, 2012 7:15 PM
    We hate them ? YES ! We need them ? YES ! We keep them? YES !

    by: Anonymous
    June 12, 2012 9:49 AM
    I wonder if USA has enough money just to deport 12 million illegal immigrants ? I also wonder if USA has enough man resources to replace aging babyboomers who are retiring in mass in the next 10 years. Do you have any sense of reality?

    by: LAVietVet from: Rolling Hills Estate
    June 12, 2012 6:25 AM
    "Legal Immigrants", YES - "Illegal immigrants", NO! Also, all City Mayors and CALTRANS should be investigated for employing Illegals.

    by: LAVietVet from: Rolling Hills Estate
    June 12, 2012 6:21 AM
    The U.S. should attend after the U.S. "Citizens" Dream until the economy gets better. Right now the U.S. can NOT afford to allow the "Illegal Dreams" to happen. The "illegal" exodus in invading the U.S. MUST stop and sending back "all illegals" to "their country of origin" will give them the MESSAGE TO THINK TWICE BEFORE THEY "WET" THEIR BACK!

    by: LAVietVet from: Rolling Hills Estate
    June 12, 2012 3:39 AM
    At the current economic situation of the U.S., the U.S. DREAM should be for the citizens of the country and NOT for Illegals. The U.S. do not have enough resources to allow the illegals to DREAM.

    by: LAVietVet from: Rolling Hills Estate
    June 12, 2012 2:54 AM
    Other countries do not have this problem, and if they do, there's only negligible number. The U.S. have millions and yet the government still wants to aggravate the situation by NOT securing the borders. Instead, the U.S. can not keep up supporting the illegals and are spending millions or trillions keeping and/or deporting them. DEPORT THEM ALL AND LET EACH ONE APPLY FOR ENTRY TO THE U.S. IT'S NOT THE U.S. FAULT IF THEY'RE HERE ILLEGALLY, AND SHOULD NOT BE RESPONSIBLE!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora