By Kevin Tejada
With a New Year just beginning, immigration activists are not winding down their efforts to advocate for the immigration reforms necessary in our country. On Monday January 5th, members of the New York Immigration coalition, their allies which included the Hudson Valley Community Coalition, Neighbors Link, Hispanic Resource Center, Cabrini Immigrant Services and the Westchester Hispanic Coalition, with the support of local lawmakers introduced the Immigrant Equality Agenda. Coalition members made their case at the Westchester Hispanic Coalition, located in White Plains.
The hopes of this year’s immigrant equality agenda include: ensuring that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have the resources and services available to apply for administrative relief, supporting the educational and health needs unaccompanied children who fled violence in Central America, to combat work place abuses and improve wages and working conditions for the hundreds of dairy farm workers in New York State. The passage of the New York State Dream Act, tops the list of goals in the agenda.
News 12 Westchester and Verizon FiOS1 News were present at the event. After the press conference was over, I got the chance to speak with the News 12 reporter. This gave me the opportunity to talk about why I am so passionate about the issues discussed during the conference, particularly the passage of the Dream Act. The news reporter asked me if I myself am an undocumented college student. I am not. And although it was a fair thing to ask, the question really struck me by surprise and it made me think about how the battle to pass the Dream Act and other pro-immigrant legislation should not be exclusive to the undocumented immigrants that would benefit from them. Immigration policy affects all aspects of society, thus it affects all of us. Regardless of status, immigrants have always played a central role in the life and growth of our nation. Immigrants contribute $10 billion a year to this country's economic growth. I do not have to be undocumented to advocate for the rights of immigrants. I am a strong believer and supporter of the Dream Act and I consider myself part of the Dreamer movement. Dreamers as the name of their movement suggests are students just like me who have dreams and aspirations. I am a Dreamer.
I am in full support of the passage of the Dream Act because I think it is outrageous that some of my peers who have the same potential as me to succeed in college, do not have the opportunity to keep pursuing their dreams. Our government invests in these students through our public system but why stop after they graduate from high school? Why not continue to support these students through college? We are cutting these students’ wings and we can’t continue to do that. The United States is known for being the land of dreams but for a lot of dreamers these dreams are far from possible. It is because of this that the passage of the Dream Act is necessary in our country. In the past few years Dreamers have been more influential than they have been visible, but my hope for 2015 is that we become both more influential and visible with the passage of the Dream Act.
Take Action! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to:
*Join the NYS Dream Act Coalition;
*Be added to the HVCC listserv to get notice of upcoming actions, workshops and community news;
*Schedule a DACA/DAPA Informational Workshop in your community;
*Take Part in Albany Day, NYIC’s Immigrant Day of Action on March 3;
*Join or learn more about UNIR, the Upstate Network for Immigrant Rights; or*Volunteer with Us