Our VoiceCulture

A Quick Look at the Arrests in North Carolina

Glenn Hutchinson • Sep 09, 2011

This week in Charlotte, NC, undocumented students bravely spoke out against a system that discourages education and creates fear against the immigrant community.

On Tuesday, September 6, members of the NC Dream Team held a rally on the campus of Central Piedmont Community College. North Carolina has made it very difficult for undocumented students to pursue an education.  They have to pay out-of-state tuition and also wait until the last day of registration to sign-up for classes, which leaves them with very few options.

After sharing their stories on campus, the NC7 marched and held a sit-in at one of the busiest intersections in downtown Charlotte.  People gathered in support with signs, cheering on the demonstrators.  After stopping traffic for nearly half an hour, the police arrived and began to arrest the demonstrators.  After handcuffing the NC7, the police began arresting others wearing the Dream Team t-shirts who were involved with the action.

Besides criminal charges, the undocumented students were to be processed through the 287g program, which local law enforcement uses to transfer undocumented people to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in order to begin deportation proceedings.

However, it appears that ICE will not deport these students—for now, at least.  Three of the NC7 were released last night, and more will appear in court this Thursday.

Even though these students will not be deported, what will happen to all of the other young undocumented people who are in jail right now? The Obama Administration claims that they will no longer deport students; however, Pres. Obama has deported more people than former President Bush.

We must speak out for the rights of immigrants, particularly those who don’t make the headlines. Where there is a camera and when there is a newspaper story, it seems deportations can be stopped.  But what happens to all those who remain unknown to us?

For them, we must work harder to refocus the national spotlight on immigrant rights; we must work to ensure that immigrants can pursue an education, so they can become citizens.

We need our politicians to act bravely, not cowardly. We need them to listen to these students.

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