Op-Ed: Who Killed the DREAM for Thousands of Youth?

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I am an honor-roll sophomore at Brentwood High School and, just like many other young people on Long Island, I have dreams of going to college.

Although I am an excellent student, my grades may not be enough to get me into college. The reality is that I am undocumented, my family migrated from Honduras to Long Island a decade ago in search of a better life and in hopes of escaping the ever-growing violence in Honduras.

Living on Long Island has been difficult, mainly due to discrimination that many Latinos experience on a day-to-day basis. This discrimination is even higher if you are undocumented, but the saddest part is that the politicians who claim to represent our interests and want the Latino vote, spew hate about the undocumented community.

During the debate for the NY DREAM act, which lost by two votes in the NY State Senate in May, I heard so much hate coming from so many politicians who do not know what it is like to be a DREAMer. Not one of the Long Island State Senators voted for DREAM, making clear that they don’t know how hard students like me work, only to see our friends get a chance, while we are held back from achieving my dreams because we do not have a specific piece of paper.

There are some elected officials from districts with large immigrant populations on Long Island speak out of both sides of their mouths. On the one hand, they reach out to the Latino community and ask for our vote in the upcoming state elections. On the other hand, they refuse to take the actions that many Long Island immigrants need to be able to realize our full potential and help make Long Island thrive.

Yes my family and I crossed the border, but that does not make us any less human or any less of a hard-working Long Island family. When politicians describe my family as “illegals” it breaks my heart. I am undocumented, but I am also an honors student, I go to church every Sunday, and I give back to my community by volunteering at local organizations.

Almost every Latino family on Long Island knows someone who is undocumented and Latinos will be holding politicians accountable for refusing to support our communities. On Tuesday, November, 4th my community will be voting for our families and the best interests of Long Island, and we will be paying attention to candidates’ positions on the DREAM Act.

Dalia Casco is a member of Make the Road Action Fund. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Long Island Wins.


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