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Seven Undocumented Youth Speak Out Against Federal Inaction and the Lack of Educational Access

Risk arrest at ‘coming out’ action in 287(g) county

One year before the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, undocumented youth from across the state will speak out against the threats they face at the hands of this Administration and the lack of educational access nationwide. The rally will take place today at 1PM on the Central Campus of Central Piedmont Community College.

“I am breaking my silence and speaking out against the injustices my community, my brother, and I are suffering,” said Angelica Velazquillo, one of the participants in the day’s action. Velazquillo graduated Magna Cum Laude from Belmont Abbey College in 2008. “Undocumented youth deserve the opportunity to study, work, and live without restrictions.”

In North Carolina, undocumented youth are required to pay out-of-state tuition for post-secondary education even if they graduated from a state high school. Worse still, undocumented students are required to register after everyone else in community college, amounting to a pervasive form of segregation. Students can lose their seat in class at any time if a citizen student wants it.

“I was forced to drop out after about two semesters due to the high costs of out-of-state tuition,” said Manuel Vazquez, one of the participants from Raleigh, NC. “My dream is to one day be a small business owner and give back to a community that has given so much to me.”

Over the summer, the Obama administration suddenly found more discretionary power to apply toward undocumented youth. It did so hoping to silence its critics and compensate for the lack of support from fellow Democrats, including Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC), who voted against the DREAM Act in December. It is clear that undocumented youth have no sincere political ally and have chosen to fight for themselves, their education and their communities.

The following students will reveal their status publicly: Santiago Garcia, 20, of Asheville, NC; Cynthia Martinez, 20, of Sanford, NC; Martin Rodriguez, 20, of Hamptonville, NC; Marco Saavedra, 21, of Cincinatti, OH; Alicia Torres, 25, of Carrboro, NC; Manuel Vazquez, 21, of Raleigh, NC; Angelica Velazquillo, 25, of Charlotte, NC.

“The emotional side of the cruel reality of our lives has not been a concern for congressmen and congresswomen,” said Martin Rodriguez, a participant in the action from Hamptonville, NC. Rodriguez attended NC State University. “I choose not to present another emotional testimony, I do not ask for sympathy, we do not ask for superiority; we ask for justice. Mere justice!”