Undocumented man who staged strike to appeal

Uriel Alberto (image courtesty Wake County Sheriff's Office)

July 1, 2012 9:00:00 PM PDT
A man who was arrested after disrupting an immigration meeting at North Carolina's General Assembly by proclaiming himself an illegal immigrant is appealing to the Wake County Superior Court for a jury trial.

Uriel Alberto was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct at the state legislative building in February after interrupting a committee meeting on immigration policy.

However on Monday, the 24-year-old found himself in even more trouble.

Alberto was to have a trial in district court, but didn't show up on time and the judge issued an arrest warrant.

When he finally showed up to court an hour late, his attorneys were able to talk the judge and prosecutor out of arresting him.

Alberto said because he was undocumented, he had no drivers license and had to depend on someone else to bring him from his home in Winston-Salem and that's why he was late.

According to Alberto, he was brought to the U.S. as a child by illegal immigrant parents, was raised here and is an American at heart. He said he wants a chance to stay in this country to further his education and be a productive citizen.

He said the recent action by President Barack Obama is a start, but doesn't go far enough.

"I wish it was a little bit more like the Dream Act," Alberto said. "It's nothing like the Dream Act. It doesn't give status and it doesn't allow undocumented youth to pursue a college education which in reality is what the organizations that I deal with strive for is to educate our undocumented youth."

Meanwhile, because Alberto was late Monday, the district court judge said there was not enough time for a trial, so Alberto used a provision in the law that allowed him to plead to the charges without admitting guilt.

He is now appealing to the Superior Court for a jury trial.

In the meantime, deportation proceedings are underway and he could be sent to Mexico -- a birthplace he hasn't seen since he left the country at age 8. Even under new rules ordered by the President, Alberto would have a hard time staying in the United States.

He meets the under age 30 portion of the rules, but not the clean criminal record provision. Alberto was charged with DWI when he was 20, because he was underage, even though his breathalyzer results were half the legal limit.

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