The following is a letter written by a DREAMer’s mother to State Senator Dean Skelos urging the passage of the NYS Dream Act.
Dear Senator Skelos,
I am the mother of a DREAMer and I am a resident of Valley Stream in Nassau County. I write to you today as a constituent and call on you to support the New York State Dream Act (A.2597/S.2378), which would provide undocumented students equal access to our Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).
I am not only a constituent of your district, I am also the mother of a DREAMer who would benefit greatly from the TAP program. My daughter is a senior at Valley Stream South High School. She came here at the tender age of 2 years old and did not know of her status until she was in the 10th grade. She had always thought that she was an American citizen. She has worked very hard through her high school years, getting accepted into the Junior National Honor Society in junior high school and into the Language, Athletic and National Honor Society in high school. She is also a member of the prestigious Chamber Orchestra. She has participated in many community services through the Key Club and my church, and she has maintained a GPA of 3.5. My daughter applied to 16 colleges and got accepted to 15, her ambition is to be a trauma surgeon but because of her not being able to apply for financial aid, her dreams might be shattered.
Over a decade ago, our state was a leader in deciding to extend the right of undocumented youth to pay in-state tuition rates at public universities and college. With momentum growing nationally for comprehensive immigration reform, your support for the NYS DREAM Act would demonstrate New York’s leadership on immigration and higher education policy.
Texas, New Mexico and California have all passed state-level DREAM legislation, granting their undocumented students the ability to apply for state-based financial aid. Adopting a similar policy in New York would provide hard working and qualified students like my daughter and others who I know in my school district, who are residents of New York State, the opportunity to earn a college degree, contribute back into the economy of our state, and make their dream a reality.
The Long Island population exceeds 2.5 million residents. It is estimated that 16% of Long Island residents are immigrants and that 1 out of 6 immigrants are undocumented. I know that thousands of these individuals are undocumented youth. Support for this bill ensures your commitment to our immigrant youth and families and to the necessity of an education. As a constituent, I urge you to stand on the side of these brilliant students, including my daughter, and support the NYS DREAM Act.
A DREAMer’s Mother
Resident of Valley Stream, NY