The American DREAM is For Everyone

Nov 8, 2013

A group of undocumented Syracuse University students marched from campus to Senator David Valesky’s office in hopes he’ll support the New York State DREAM Act.

A group of Syracuse University Students prepare to march in support of the DREAM Act
Credit Sawyer Rosenstein/WAER

The students who made their way to the Senator’s office are undocumented, meaning they came to the United States illegally, but have graduated high school here and are now in college.

They’re pushing Senator Valesky to co-sponsor the New York State DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented students access to financial aid. Student Martin Lopez says the act won’t help him, but hopes it’ll help future students.

“We’re basically to help out undocumented youth. To have the possibility for them to have a secondary education because we’re also undocumented and we’re here in school and they deserve the same right.”

Credit Courtesy

Lopez was born in Mexico before coming to Atlanta, Georgia. He was one of about 15 undocumented Syracuse students marching. Lopez says that regardless of the opposition to illegal immigrants, they’re just American students.

“We are a reality of America as much as people want to have us as some type of discrepancy. We’re part of America’s higher education. We’re part of America’s economy so to push for something to kind of have equilibrium from us, it means something.”

The DREAM Act passed the State Assembly last session and the group is hoping that Senator Valesky co-sponsoring the bill can help make DREAM a reality. The New York DREAM Act would allow undocumented students who meet in-state tuition requirements to access state financial aid and scholarships for their higher education.

It would also open 529 tuition savings accounts to all New York youth and establish a Dream Fund Commission. The purpose of the commission would be to raise private funds for a college scholarship program for the children of immigrants.