March 15, 2012 View Discussion
by Ted Hesson
Families, students, and activists from across the state flocked to Albany on March 14 to push their elected officials to support the New York DREAM Act, a bill that would allow undocumented youth to receive state financial aid for higher education.
More than a thousand people traveled to the capital in support of the bill, a show of force organized by the New York Immigration Coalition as part of its annual Immigrants’ Day of Action.
At a press conference outside the State Capitol, several undocumented students spoke of the need for legislative change in New York. One of those students was Yelky Ramos, a 20-year-old Dominican immigrant from the Bronx who came to the US to reunite with her parents at the age of 13.
Wearing a T-shirt that read, “Undocumented, Unafraid, Unapologetic,” she called for state lawmakers to pass the bill:
At the event, State Senator Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan), who introduced the New York Dream Act in the Senate, read more or less verbatim from a recent New York Times editorial about the legislation:
It’s hard to see why Mr. Cuomo should be hesitant to support these measures. It shouldn’t be the expense; a new study by the Fiscal Policy Institute found that the Dream Act would add roughly $17 million, or only 2 percent, to the cost of the Tuition Assistance Program. Students with college degrees make a state more attractive to businesses, earn more and pay more in taxes. Giving a boost to the dreams of undocumented young people is not only the decent thing to do, it’s also a wise investment.
Here are some photos from the day: