Dozens of young people, community leaders, and elected officials gathered on the steps of City Hall Friday, Dec. 9, to demand greater access to higher education for youth, regardless of status.
Currently, undocumented youth who have been raised here have no access to financial aid, either at the federal or state level, making it next to impossible for some of the best and brightest of New York’s young people to go to college.
The press conference preceded a public hearing convened by the New York State Assembly Committee on Higher Education on legislation that would benefit DREAM youth. Community leaders and students will be giving testimony on the importance of expanding access to financial resources to students regardless of immigration status, allowing DREAMers to continue their education and expand their futures.
Yajaira Saavedra, founder of DREAM Scholars, said, “The New York State DREAM proposed bills will allow undocumented students an opportunity to fulfill their aspirations and ultimately give back to the American society who contributed to their upbringing.
“It would be easier for me to go to college, give back to the country that gave me the opportunity to … study, and then use my skills to improve my community, if the NYS DREAM Fund and NYS DREAM Act are accepted,” Katherine Tabares, a high school senior and youth eader at Make the Road NY said.
Javier Ramirez Baron, immigrant family program coordinator at Cabrini Immigrant Services explained that through continued determination and hard work to overcome untold barriers, thousands of New York State motivated students have achieved academic goals, earning the opportunity to attend various universities and pursue their dreams.”
Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities NYC said, “Providing opportunities to young people brought here by no fault or action of their own, is one specific step New Yorkm can take to ensure newcomers to our state are well prepared for the future.
“The DREAM students are arguably the most vulnerable youth in our state but they also represent the greatest promise for New York,” said José Calderón, senior vice president, Hispanic Federation.
“They are the future of New York. The way we see it the fundamental question is not why we should pass these DREAM bills but why we wouldn’t.”
“The New York State Youth Leadership Council expresses its gratitude to the Higher Education and Government Operations committees for holding the hearing on the NY DREAM Act.
“As the first organization that spearheaded the campaign for the New York DREAM Act, we are glad to see the support that this progressive bill has continued to garner,” said Jacki Cinto, New York State Leadership Council. “We urge all our elected officials to take immediate action, co-sponsor and push for the NY Dream Act.