The DREAM Act seeks to give young adults who have lived in the country for most of their lives a path to citizenship, but it has not yet passed. This means many young people in both South Carolina and North Carolina live in fear of deportation after being brought to the county illegal by their parents when they were young.
Recently, one young North Carolina man narrowly escaped this fear becoming a reality. After an immigration court hearing last week in Charlotte, a 22-year-old man was granted an extension of his deportation proceeding until September 6.
The young man facing deportation was brought to the United States from Mexico at the age of 2 by his parents. The deportation process began back in October, when he was pulled over by a police officer for driving with his high beams on.
The young man has no prior criminal convictions, other than minor traffic violations. He has led a successful life in the United States thus far, achieving a high school diploma, along with an associate's degree from a community college. The young man also has many goals for the future.
Since this case has become recognized nationwide, the young man has gained the support of many groups, including the NAACP of North Carolina. These groups, along with his immigration attorney are going to keep the fighting for to prevent his deportation.
The advocates argue that the young man the perfect example of why the DREAM Act should be made into law. Under this act, individuals who enter the United States before the age of 15, who do not have criminal records, and are enrolled in higher education, will be given permanent residency.
The advocates also point to the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who has said that more focus should be put on deporting those individuals with a criminal record who present a threat to national security and public safety.
Only time will tell if the DREAM Act will pass so the nightmare can end for many young immigrants in the Carolinas and the rest of the country.
Source: Winston-Salem Journal, "Deportation policies debated in Charlotte case," Bertrand M. Gutierrez, 7/24/2011.