NC 'Dreamers' go to lawmakers in D.C. to plead for the DREAM Act

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Four NC "Dreamers" went to DC recently and met with the staff of three lawmakers over the DREAM Act of 2017. (Courtesy of Miriam Amado)

Miriam Amado said she's lived in Johnston County since she was 2 years old. She is a senior at the University of Mount Olive and plans to graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in business administration in healthcare.

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While focusing on her future career, she's also fighting to stay in the United States.

Amado was born in Mexico City and is in the U.S. under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. President Donald Trump announced last month that the program would be phased out by early March.

Miriam Amado said she's lived in Johnston County since she was 2.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been hammering out solutions.

"Failure is not an option," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC. "I've never seen more bipartisan support for the idea than right this moment."

Graham is a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act. He made that statement on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Amado and more than 100 other Dreamers were there to listen and to urge other lawmakers to vote for the DREAM Act.

More on the DREAM Act

The DREAM Act of 2017 would allow Dreamers to get permanent residency and U.S. citizenship if they graduate high schools or get a GED and work for at least three years, serve in the military or pursue higher education. The bill would also require applicants to be proficient in English, have no history of serious crimes and pass law enforcement and security background checks.

Amado said she and three other so-called Dreamers from North Carolina had three meetings while in Washington, D.C. She said they met with the staff of three lawmakers, including Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

"Whenever we were in Thom Tillis' office, I think he got about two or three calls, just in that 10-minute time frame we were waiting in his office, about the DREAM Act," said Amado, "so there's still a lot of responses and still a lot of calls being made."

The bill does have bipartisan support, but among other things Republicans want to make sure increased border security is part of the package. In late September, two Republican senators introduced the SUCCEED Act.

More on the SUCCEED Act

Amado said while the conversations did not end with answers they were looking for, they were open to listening and discussing options. Amado said she and others in her situation are also open to other legislation. So with both sides willing to talk, she said she remains hopeful for the future.

"We're here, we're studying, we're working," Amado said. "We're part of this community and we want to stay here."
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politicsimmigrationimmigration reformdeportationjohnston county newsnorth carolina newsJohnston County
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