On the corner of Wilmington and Lane, three young women are fighting for the American dream — theirs and those of others.
Rosario, Loida and Viridiana are going without food while camping in downtown Raleigh to draw attention to the DREAM Act, a piece of federal legislation that would bring badly-needed common sense to a part of immigration policy. Their hunger strike aims to generate awareness and support for the bill.
Over three million students graduate from U.S. high schools every year. Most get the chance to pursue opportunity. However, a group of approximately 65,000 youth have their options constrained due to undocumented status.
These youth — like the three women on a hunger strike now — have lived in the United States for most of their lives. They want more than anything to be recognized as Americans, and to help build a better future for everyone here.
“We just want to work hard and contribute to society,” says Rosario, who has earned an undergraduate degree in biology and wants to go on to complete a PhD.
The DREAM Act — which stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — would recognize that commitment. The law has four strict requirements. A person must have entered the country before the age of 16; graduated high school or obtained a GED; have good moral character with no criminal record; and have at least five years of continuous presence in the U.S.
If someone meets those criteria, the DREAM Act would provide a six years window for them to either obtain a two-year college degree or complete two-years of military service. If all of these conditions are met, the person would have the opportunity to adjust their conditional permanent residency status to U.S. Citizenship.
If we want to build a stronger America, we want Americans who have a commitment to education and public service.
Rosario, Loida and Viridiana already have those qualities. The DREAM Act would just give them a well-deserved path to citizenship.