American DREAMer students clear major hurdle beginning today


by Félix Pérez

All across the country today, scores of hard-working, law-abiding DREAMer students are one step closer to continue contributing to their communities and living without fear or shame in the only country they have ever called home.

Today marks the first day these aspiring citizens can register to live and work legally in the United States for at least two years. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was announced by President Barack Obama’s administration two months ago.

Hareth Andrade [click here to read related EdVotes story], a sophomore at Northern Virginia Community College and a new American immigrant, is one of the first DREAMer students to apply.

I no longer have to hide,” said Andrade, who was brought to the United States when she was eight. “And I no longer feel that I have as many barriers as I used to.”

Educators by nature, it seems, and by virtue of their chosen profession, recognize that education is America’s great equalizer, no less so for dedicated, bright DREAMer students. They are doing their part to spread the word about the Deferred Action program to eligible students.

“The reason it’s so important is because what we’re talking about all of these new Americans and American immigrants, what we’re talking about is an opportunity for education,” Arizona educator and National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel said in an interview published today in Talking Points Memo. “This is about American ideals, it’s a bipartisan issue.”

Learn the stories of two DREAMers:

  • “Eye of the Storm” is a multi-panel, graphic cartoon that follows the story of Jessica Colotl, a Georgia student detained as an “illegal alien” and facing deportation just months before she was set to graduate from college.
  • “Undocumented Grad Chases Medical Dreams” is a radio news story about New Latthi, a recent University of California Berkeley graduate in molecular and cell biology who is completing a summer internship at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College.

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