Uriel Alberto has become quite the celebrity in North Carolina. He was recently released from a short stint he did in a Wake County jail when he posted bail.
He and two other protesters were arrested after they stood up in the middle of a committee hearing on February 29th in Raleigh, revealing shirts that read “Undocumented and Unafraid”.
The other two protesters were free to go shortly after they were processed but Alberto, who has a criminal history in Forsyth County, was forced to stay longer.
His criminal record includes several traffic violations that include an underage DWI, as well as dismissed domestic violence charges.
The NC Dream Team and El Cambio organized the protest in Raleigh. Several grassroots organizations have tried to keep pressure on both passing and stalling the Dream Act, which would allow undocumented youths to take steps towards achieving residency or citizenship in the US after paying a fine and pursuing a college education.
Mr. Alberto is just one of the estimated 51,000 in North Carolina alone that would benefit from the DREAM Act. He passed up an opportunity to attend Eastern Carolina University in large part to the out-of-state tuition that is charged to undocumented youths.
The Dream Act, an acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, was recently reintroduced to the Senate in 2011 again after a modification in 2010. The bill has the following requirements for youth to be eligible:
1) Lived in the US at least five years,
2) Currently 29 and under and having arrived in the US at 15 or under
3) Graduated or obtained a GED from an American high school and have graduated from a two year community college or completed at least two years towards a Bachelor’s degree OR serve at least two years in the US military
4) Be a person of good moral character
The bill, as it stood in 2010, excluded anyone who had committed one felony or three misdemeanors. It doesn’t specify whether the person had to be convicted of said charges. Mr. Alberto, even though he has a DWI (a misdemeanor in North Carolina), would still have been eligible if he continued his education or served in the military.