LatinaLista — Benita Veliz, Benny to her friends, is a 23-year-old college graduate — graduated Valedictorian from her San Antonio, Texas high school class and got a full scholarship to St. Mary’s University where she double-majored in biology and sociology — and wants to go to law school.
The only problem is Benita is undocumented.
Benita dreams that one day soon Congress will pass the DREAM Act which will allow bright young people like Benita, who came to the US as children (Benita was 8-years-old), to attend college at in-state tuition rates (in those states that don’t already allow it), be eligible for college loans and to be able to put their degrees to work once they’re finished with school.
However, Benita has a more pressing issue than waiting to see what Congress decides to do.
First, she has to worry about whether or not she will be allowed to stay in the country.
In January, Benita was pulled over by the police. He said she “rolled” through a stop sign. Benita denies it but it didn’t matter. The policeman got what he was looking for — an undocumented Mexican immigrant.
Though she had a Mexican Consular ID card, she was carted off to jail and deportation proceedings were started against her.
Since that eventful day, this shy brainiac of a student has been thrust into an uncomfortable limelight. Yet during a DREAM Act symposium in Dallas, Texas in the spring where I personally met Benita, she says she feels she has no choice but to speak out for all DREAM Act students who are in her shoes.
June issue of San Antonio Scene magazine where the cover story was about Benita Veliz.
Her story has made national headlines ranging from the New York Times to countless blog posts and local media.
Yet, tomorrow will be the day when Benita finds out if all the years she studied hard, tried to be as law abiding as she could and illustrate her good moral character will be enough.
Benita has a court hearing that will decide her fate. According to a media release:
Benita Veliz will be having a master calendar hearing with regards to her immigration case. This hearing will determine her immediate fate for the next few months
The court hearing on Wednesday will be decisive as to Benita Veliz’s immediate future. The decision given will determine the amount, if any, of time, that Benita will be allowed to remain in the United States, until another court appearance is scheduled.
Benita plans on sharing this emotional event with everyone on Twitter. Benita in Court is where Benita will let her supporters, friends and the curious keep up with what will be sure to be a roller coaster of emotions for her.
When the decision is rendered, she promises to tweet it.
“I am very optimistic and confident that things will go well on Wednesday,” Benita wrote in an email. “I want to be able to share the good news with everyone who has been so supportive.”
In addition to what happens to Benita, the struggle on behalf of the thousands of undocumented students continues.
On Tuesday, June 23, 2009, there will be a National DREAM Graduation in Washington, DC. It’s an event sponsored by a coalition of organizations — United We DREAM Coalition, DREAMActivist.org and the University Leadership Initiative — working for the passage of the DREAM Act.
The event is for the general public to learn about the DREAM Act, as well as, bolster support from both the public and US Congress members.
There are about 64,000 other students, besides Benita, awaiting their fate — and for their dreams to be realized.
Hopefully, tomorrow will be the start of true justice for these students.