Imagine spending your childhood and most of your life growing up in North Carolina – only to suddenly find that at 21 you could be deported to a country you don’t even remember. That’s the reality of over 200,000 documented dreamers, including some students at North Carolina State University.
The Dreamers are children who are legally brought to the United States on their parents’ visas, but end up aging at 21. Now, local immigrant students are scrambling to find a way to stay in the United States as they call on lawmakers to expand protections.
Some of these local students grew up in Raleigh and have spent their entire lives in North Carolina. For them, this country is all they know. They are now taking an unclear path to full citizenship so they can stay where they call home.
NCSU student Sashank Sabbeini moved to the United States at age 6 after moving from India.
He never saw any difference between himself and American citizens – until a serious discussion with his family about his immigration status.
“The first time I was exposed to this was in high school, when my parents told me I didn’t have a social security number and had to self-deport at age 21. years,” explains Sabbeini. “I hope I can go to medical school and become a doctor and achieve my dreams.”
On Friday, Sabbeini and two other Documented Dreamers sat down with NC Congresswoman Deborah Ross during a panel discussion on immigration reform.
“These kids are very industrious. They’re smart. They’re creative,” she said. “They’re the best in America. And we want to give them a legal way to stay.”
After a long process, Sabbeini was granted permanent legal status through a green card. He now stands up for other documented dreamers and says they all deserve a path to full American citizenship
“Having been a documented dreamer and having lived through these issues for 13 years, I know the pain and struggles that come with it,” he said. “And I really hope there will be some sort of resolution.”
Fedora Castelino, who grew up in Apex and attends the University of South Carolina, is 18. She dreams of serving her country, the United States.
“I really want to join the US military, especially the Corps of Engineers,” she said. “America is where the American dream is. My parents had such a great future, a vision to live in America.”
But the American dream seems unattainable because of his immigration status.
“I can’t work. I can’t get loans. I can’t get scholarships,” she said.
Castelino shared his story with MP Ross during the roundtable.
Ross said: “Our visa system is broken. When they turn 21 they are no longer legally here. They either have to get another visa and go through the process or self-deport to a country they don’t even know.”
New York City is under a state of emergency and is expected to spend at least $1 billion trying to find shelter for migrants. Other states have sent more than $17,000 worth of asylum seekers from the southern border since April 2022. At least nine buses arrived yesterday. The city has been receiving five to six groups of people a day since early September.
This is due to legislation passed in the United States House. He needs the support of 10 GOP senators in the Senate and likely won’t be picked up until the midterm elections.