The Dream Act Starts with You


Last hearing


Since August 2008, I’ve traveled between Chicago, IL, Rochester, NY and Buffalo, NY six times by Amtrak and ten times by Greyhound in order to get to my deportation hearings. During these trips, I’ve encountered Border Patrol agents twice on Amtrak and at least five times on Greyhound. The routine is always the same: “Are you a U.S. citizen? What country are you from?” I respond, “No” and show my court notice paper. The agent examines it briefly and moves on.

November 5th, I left Chicago for my last court hearing in Buffalo, NY. This time the routine was broken: the agent finished with a curtly “Good luck, sir.” Five days later I stood In the courtroom.

We informed the judge that voluntary departure was a not a good option for me. To which he replied, “Very well then.” At this point the hearing took on an evermore impersonal and bureaucratic character. The judge rattled off the verdict, my order of deportation. All thought subsided; my mind went blank. The hearing ended with my lawyer reserving the right to appeal the case, giving me another thirty days with my family.

Moments later, I was alone in the waiting room. I cried. Unlike my breakdown after the first hearing, this time I knew the reason for my tears. I was angry and frustrated. Angry at the senselessness of the situation. Frustrated since in the two years that I’ve been going to these hearings the Dream Act still hasn’t passed and relief remained on the horizon.

By November 14th, I was back with my family in Chicago. Today, my appeals period ends. At this point I am uncertain how much time I have left or when and if I will have to ask for your help. As always, I continue doing what I can to help inch the Dream Act forward.