Students risk deportation in plea to lift higher education ban
Atlanta, Georgia— Today, undocumented youth from around the nation are joined by allies in demanding that colleges and universities refuse implementation of bans on higher education. In October of 2010 the Georgia Board of Regents joined South Carolina, Alabama, North Carolina and other states in banning undocumented youth from attending college. The ban in Georgia will go into full effect this coming fall. According to the Migrant Policy Institute over 74,000 undocumented youth reside in the state of Georgia.
“We feel that the time for us to stand up has come. I am not only doing this for my friends who are in the same situation, but also for my mom who did everything she could to give me a better life,” says Georgina Perez, 21, one of the undocumented youth, brought here, from Mexico, at the age of 3. Georgina went on to say, “I feel scared not knowing what might happen to me today, but I also know that if I do not take action then my future will remain uncertain for much longer.”
If arrested all 8 undocumented youth could face deportation proceedings. According to organizers, the participants all refuse to leave until Georgia State University’s president agrees to not comply with the ban on higher education. “Graduating from high school is bittersweet for me because I know I won’t be able to attend the same schools as my friends,” said undocumented student Dulce, 18. Dulce has been living in Georgia since she was just two years old.
‘It took me five years to complete a two year degree, I can no longer wait at home for some change to come at the federal level” said Maria Marroquin, an undocumented student from Pennsylvania. “We are being shut out of universities, criminalized and deported in states around the country. The time is always right to fight for our civil rights.”
Taking a stand, despite knowing the risks, is the only alternative the undocumented youth see. Last year, Viridiana Martinez, along with two others, lead a 13-day hunger strike outside the offices of Sen. Kay Hagan, “remaining in the shadows is no longer an option. Through my own story, I have regained my dignity and through action, I will bring light to what would otherwise remain unexposed.”
For these students it is now time for those who say they support them or those who stand against them to choose a side, decide if they will fight to educate or deport talented young people such as themselves.
“Young people have always been at the forefront of the civil rights movement,” stated David Ramirez, an undocumented youth from Chicago, Illinois, “If you claim to stand with us, fight with us. Help us defend our dignity and worth as members of American society. I’ve decided whose side I am on and I’ve chosen to act. I ask you now to do the same.”
-This is a press release from the Dream is Coming Project, who define themselves as follows:
“As The Dream is Coming project, we are compelled by our frustration and the fierce urgency of our dreams to act as agents of our destinies and be the catalysts for a future in which we are empowered, mobilized, and living with the dignity we deserve. We are a group of undocumented youth who have worked for years on a path to legalization. We are at a point in our movement where radical action has become necessary for ourselves and our communities.”