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One DREAM Granted, Thousands Unfulfilled

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America Should Embrace More Young Achievers Like Eric Balderas

Washington, DC – After the news of his plight generated outcry and editorials on his behalf, the announcement that Eric Balderas will not face deportation is both a welcome development and a clarion call to pass the DREAM Act.  

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “While Eric’s story is resolved favorably, it speaks to the dysfunction of our current immigration policy that it took public outcry to ensure that he was not deported.  We must continue working to fashion an immigration system that actually recognizes that it’s in our national interests to keep Eric Balderas at home in the U.S.  Through the DREAM Act, we can ensure that the next Eric Balderas does not fall through the cracks of the deportation system and that thousands of other young people who are Americans in all but paperwork have the opportunity to strengthen our country and their communities.”

Balderas, a 19-year old Harvard biology student with aspirations of becoming a cancer researcher, was detained earlier this month and faced removal after boarding a flight in his hometown of San Antonio, where he was valedictorian of his area high school.  His violation?  Accompanying his mother to the U.S. as a four-year old along to escape domestic abuse.  As the Boston Globe editorialized, “What country wouldn’t want to be home to someone like Eric Balderas?”  Last Friday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) granted Balderas “deferred action,” allowing him to stay in the U.S. and continue his studies.  While the Balderas story is a particularly egregious example of the counterproductive nature of our broken immigration system, his story is far from unique.  Absent immigration reform legislation such as the DREAM Act, the thousands of similar cases that have not risen to the Balderas level of notoriety may not have a similarly positive resolution.

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.