DREAMers celebrate with NYIC

DREAMers celebrate with NYIC
Photo by Tequila Minsky

Jamaican-born Brooklyn resident Kymane Hutchinson, 21, came to the U.S. when she was almost 11 years old. She is one of the DREAMers, undocumented students who arrived before the age of 16 and like those 36 young people featured in the cover story of last week’s TIME magazine have dreams for the future amidst the challenges of being undocumented.

Though Kymane has graduated John Jay College with a B.A. in Deviant Behavior and Social Control, she cannot get a job because of her immigration status.

Kymane joined other DREAMers at the NASDAQ MarketSite on Times Square, June 25, while N.Y. Immigration Coalition (NYIC) Executive Director Chung Wha Hong with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas rang the closing bell. This honor was to celebrate 25 years of service of NYIC to the state’s immigrant community.

Vargas authored the recent TIME cover: “We are Americans, Just Not Legally” and is undocumented himself.

Coalition Director Chung Wha Hong thanked the NASDAQ team and CEO Bob Greinfeld for hosting the Coalition and said, “As we celebrate our 25th anniversary this year, we are proud of the strong partnerships we’ve forged with the business community. Together, we share a vision of an immigration system that serves our economy and promotes opportunity for all. We know that immigrants are a critical part of the engine that creates thriving economies, and we need immigration policies that leverage their contributions.”

The event’s intention was to highlight the DREAMers, the young people who came to the U.S. as children.

Wha Hong continued, “We recognize their incredible talent and desire to give back to our country; and their remarkable success at doing so much to create positive change. One such DREAMer is Jose Antonio Vargas, who wrote last week’s TIME Magazine cover story.”

Jose Antonio Vargas held up the copy of the magazine that featured 36 DREAMers from 15 different countries. Vargas added, “The 36 DREAMers, myself included, come with 36 individual dreams…. to be contributing members of this great country.”

Vargas represents tens of thousands of DREAMers across the United States who are “now more empowered to come forward and make their dreams a reality.” He said, “Together, we dream. Together, we work for a better America for all.”

Kymane Hutchison attended Brooklyn High School of Music and Theatre in Brooklyn.

She is researching Obama’s recent executive order that temporary halts deportation of undocumented young people under 30, brought to the U.S. as children and its implications for her.

The order offers an opportunity for these young people to take a deep breath, while the country struggles with the complicated issues of immigration reform.

DREAM eligible youth (graduated from a U.S. high school, earned a GED, or served in the military) will be able to apply for a two-year work permit, with no limits on how many times it can be renewed. The administration’s decision is expected to affect as many as 800,000 DREAMers.