Uriel sits at Wake County jail with an ICE hold

In Uriel’s criminal record, you will find a DWI and several traffic violations. He had been charged with assault, but it was dismissed by the person who brought the charge forward. Some of the traffic violations haven’t been resolved because he didn’t have the money to pay off court costs, so they are pending cases. Not being able to obtain a driver license due to his immigration status also doesn’t help.

This does not merit deportation. ICE thinks his misdemeanors say more about him than being a good father and providing for his sisters. ICE thinks a DWI says more about Uriel than the fact that he’s a loving father to his 2-year old baby boy Julian. How will ICE explain to Julian when he’s older that his father’s minor slip-ups, no different than those of documented residents, justified taking his father away?

Uriel Alberto is a 24-year-old with dreams and aspirations—with flaws and virtues—who faces good times and bad like all of us. His life hasn’t been without obstacles; as a matter of fact, Uriel was forced to grow up quicker than most when his father left his family. He had to provide for his siblings and his mother. Soon after taking on those responsibilities, he faced the reality, like many of us, of being undocumented after graduating from high school.

“My name is Uriel Alberto. I’m undocumented, unafraid, unashamed..”

Earning an athletic scholarship to run track could’ve turned the tables for him. His coaches saw his potential. Yet, when he did earn one, he had to turn it down because of his status. But Uriel did not give up. He persevered until he was able to enroll in college. He attended Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk. He even made it to the Dean’s list. Yes, the Dean’s list. This same person who sits on a chair in a jumpsuit in the picture above.

Uriel should not be under an ICE hold right now, and to deport him would be un-American. He’s in there for revealing his immigration status in an unwelcoming place: our state legislature. Uriel stepped up to the plate. He isn’t hiding. He is facing up to his life, mistakes and all. He stood up for us, and we stand with him.