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NYT’s “The Powers of New York” Includes Dream Activists

by Mahwish Khan on 05/07/2012 at 10:40am

Sunday’s New York Times featured a profile on “The Powers of New York,” described as:

Influence in New York is now wielded by a larger and more diverse array of people. As part of a special issue of Metropolitan, here’s a look at who is at the top and who may be on the way, as identified by the reporters of The New York Times.

The profile include people at the top of an array of fields, including politics, design, transportation, the Congressional delegation — and immigration.

For the immigration “power,” the Times cited the work of DREAMers. A well-deserved tribute to some of our great, fearless allies:

Among the residents of New York, there may be no population with less power than illegal immigrants. Most live in the shadows of society, trying to avoid the kind of scrutiny that might lead to their deportation.

But some illegal immigrants have cast off their anonymity: the Dream activists. The name comes from proposed federal legislation known as the Dream Act, which would create a path to legal status for young illegal immigrants who go to college or serve in the military. The legislation has surfaced in various forms over the past decade and has been repeatedly defeated, but some states have passed or, like New York, are considering versions that would make young illegal immigrants eligible for financial aid at public colleges and universities.

Hundreds of Dream activists, working individually and under the banner of youth-led groups like the New York State Youth Leadership Council and United We Dream, have become the face of the campaign, organizing demonstrations, lobbying politicians and sharing their personal stories in the news media. They include the scores of people who, at their own peril, rallied in March outside Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office in support of the legislation; the group that walked last month to Albany from New York City to raise awareness of their cause; and the 10 City University of New York students, all illegal immigrants, who came forward in March to accept Dream Fellowships.

Mr. Cuomo has been noncommittal on the legislation so far. But regardless of whether it passes, supporters say the Dream activists have irrevocably changed the complexion of the immigration debate in New York.

Congratulations to all New York DREAMers–and the New York State Youth Leadership Council.

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