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The Next America - Immigration 2012 / Immigration

Website to Document Lives, Hopes of Dream Act Youths

July 24, 2012

Manny Bartsch was born in Germany; Al Okere was born in Nigeria; and Kelsey Burke was born in Honduras. All three have something in common—they’re high-achieving students who are also undocumented immigrants. 

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., will announce the launch of a website, as well as talk about President Obama’s immigration policy to halt deportations, during an upcoming event at the Center for American Progress, National Journal's Elahe Izadi reports.

Many of the youths featured on the website are in deportation proceedings. They have shared stories of overcoming challenges, such as living in extreme poverty, becoming the first in their families to graduate from high school and go on to college, or listening to stories of their parents fleeing violence in their home country.

 

Okere, for instance, said that the Nigerian police killed his father after his father wrote a newspaper column criticizing the government. The 21-year-old college student is studying at Central Washington University, where he is an honors student with a 3.5 grade point average. He hopes to become a doctor.

Burke was brought to the U.S. at the age of 10. She’s studying criminal justice and dreams of becoming a lawyer. “I desire to help others pursue their passion, to fight for their dreams, and to make a positive difference,” she wrote to Durbin in a letter. 

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