On April 9th, 2012, a group of 15 undocumented youth and supporters from the New York State Youth Leadership Council (NYSYLC) will begin a long journey, on foot, from New York City to Albany in support for the New York Dream Act.
Undocumented youth are deeply disappointed with Governor Cuomo’s lack of support and his failure to include funding for the New York Dream Act in this year’s state budget. This walk to Albany is a call on Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature to do everything necessary to make the New York Dream Act a reality in 2012.
This 150-mile trek is an effort to obtain legislative support and to raise awareness for the New York Dream Act. This bill, which would provide access to state-funded financial aid (TAP) and scholarships to qualifying undocumented youth, has a minimal cost but would yield a massive reward.
Thousands of young New Yorkers could finally realize their professional dreams of becoming doctors, lawyers, engineers or teachers. According to a study by the Fiscal Policy Institute a tax filer with $60,000 to $75,000 income, would pay only $1.34 in added income tax to cover the New York Dream Act.
The NYSYLC, the organization that originally introduced the New York Dream Act and has spearheaded its campaign, is committed to see this bill pass by June 2012 and is ready to walk any number of miles to advocate for legislation that would address the barriers to higher education that undocumented youth face.
The New York Dream Act makes financial sense and economic sense. It will build a bigger sense of community within undocumented youth that will encourage them to stay and contribute to the state economy. Most importantly, it will help New York re-establish a sense of leadership as a beacon for immigrant rights in a time when the undocumented are facing draconian, anti-immigrant measures in many other states.
Undocumented youth, community leaders, and elected officials including Sen. Perkins, Assemblyman Linares, and Councilmen Rodriguez and Jackson will gather in front of Gregorio Luperon High School (501 West 165th St, Manhattan, NY 10032), where the march will commence.
The NYSYLC is a youth led organization that seeks to improve access to higher education and creating equal opportunity for immigrant youth and children of immigrants, regardless of immigration status through leadership development, organizing and advocacy. The National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) is an undocumented youth-led network of grassroots organizations, campus-based student groups and individuals committed to achieving equality for all immigrant youth, regardless of their legal status. For more information, please visit here.