PRESS RELEASE: Empire State Indivisible Hosts Panel on New York’s DREAM Act with Activists and Candidates
March 15, 2018 — For Immediate Release
NEW YORK, NY — Due to Governor Cuomo’s tacit support of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), passage of the New York DREAM Act by the Senate is urgently needed but unlikely in 2018. In the third of six discussions as part of the monthly series What’s Happening in Albany, Empire State Indivisible hosted a panel to discuss the DREAM Act with Zellnor Myrie, Candidate for State Senate, District 20, Luis Yumbla from United We Dream, Yatziri Tovar from Make the Road, and Jessica Ramos, Candidate for State Senate, District 13.
The New York DREAM Act would allow undocumented students to apply for state financial aid and scholarships that are currently available to others, such as the Tuition Assistance Program and performance-based awards.
“Our communities are under attack, and so it’s important that we go out and talk to our Governor,” said Tovar. “I encourage all of you to call the Governor. If he’s really standing with immigrants, he can’t just talk about it, he has to be about it. Students like me shouldn’t have to feel like I felt when I was a senior in high school.”
The New York DREAM Act would provide equal opportunity to undocumented youth in our state. (It is estimated that of the roughly 4,500 undocumented students that graduate from New York high Schools every year, only 5–10 percent are able to pursue a college education because of financial burden.) Current state law prohibits these students from receiving state financial aid.
“I see it as very much as my duty, as the daughter of immigrants, to speak out in support of immigrants,” said Ramos. Speaking of New Yorkers who cannot attend college because of their immigration status, she notes that “we are all losing out on their potential. There is no dream with José Peralta.”
The New York State Assembly has already passed the DREAM Act eight times. California, Texas, New Mexico and Minnesota have already passed similar bills.
“We keep fighting at the local level, so that students can keep going to college,” said Yumbla. He also spoke about many other initiatives, such as driver’s licenses for all, that young New Yorkers from our immigrant communities deserve.
Prior Empire State Indivisible panels have addressed voting reform and women’s reproductive rights legislation that the IDC prevents from reaching the floor for a vote. Future panels in the series will address the NY Health Act, the NY Climate and Community Protection Act, and GENDA.
For more information: Heather Stewart, Empire State Indivisible, 917–623–0940, firstname.lastname@example.org
Empire State Indivisible uses the tactics of the Indivisible Guide to defend New York against the Trump administration, and those in our state government that enable its harmful policies. Our steadfast nature, together with our enterprising New York spirit, make our grassroots group one-of-a-kind.