The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

(202) 494-8555

Nation's Immigration System So Broken that Harvard Biology Student is Threatened With Deportation

Story of Eric Balderas Illustrates Perversity of Current Immigration Policy and the Need for the DREAM Act this Summer


stories more dramatically demonstrate the counterproductive nature of
our broken immigration system than that of Eric Balderas.

Balderas, a 19-year old Harvard biology student with aspirations of
becoming a cancer researcher, may face deportation after being detained
earlier this month while trying to board a flight. Balderas was
returning to Harvard from Texas, where he was visiting his mother, who
had fled Mexico to escape domestic abuse when he was only four years
old. In the United States since then, and valedictorian of his San
Antonio high school, Balderas has no memory of his Mexican birthplace.
His first language is English, and he does not speak Spanish well. The Balderas story, as well as
hundreds of other of similar examples, is a perfect example of why
Congress should pass the DREAM Act without further delay.

to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice, "Eric's story
speaks volumes about the dysfunction of our current immigration policy
and the need to pass the DREAM Act this summer. It makes you wonder
what possible objections any Member of Congress could possibly have to
embracing Eric and thousands of other young people who are Americans in
all but paperwork."

current law, undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. since a
young age have no way to regularize their status. Though they have
grown up speaking English and watching Sesame Street, they are
threatened with deportation regardless of their contributions to their
communities or potential for achievement. The DREAM Act would permit
these young people to become permanent legal residents if they came here
as children, are long-term U.S. residents, and complete two years of
college or military service. Despite broad support from most Democrats
and a handful of Republicans, the DREAM Act is opposed by the likes of
former reformer Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and hard liner
Rep. Lamar Smith

Sharry, "Instead of moving to detain and deport Eric and other young
Americans facing similar circumstances, Washington should be moving to
grant them citizenship. Eric is well on his way to achieving the
American Dream and doing great things for the nation, but only if our
policymakers do the right thing and give him the chance to do so."

America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform. The mission of America's Voice is to realize the promise of workable and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Our goal is to build the public support and create the political momentum for reforms that will transform a dysfunctional immigration system that does not work into a regulatory system that does.