Every year, an estimated 65,000 young people graduate high school in America as undocumented immigrants -- "illegals," as the people who want them out of the country are fond of calling them -- and face the possibility of deportation. But that could all change soon if the DREAM Act, a bill proposed by, among others, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, becomes law. And Andrea Huerfano, the Coral Springs woman we've written about here and here, could soon become the face of the national campaign to get the legislation passed.
The bill is sponsored by Sens. Richard Durbin of Illinois and Richard Lugar of Indiana and Rep. Howard Berman of California, along with Diaz-Balart, who represents northwest Miami-Dade and southwest Broward counties. If passed, the law would grant residency to immigrants who came to this country as minors, graduated high school, have lived her for at least five years, and show "good moral character."
The coalition of supporters who helped get Andrea released from ICE custody -- and began organizing members of congress on Andrea's behalf -- think the young Colombian-born Florida State University alum could have just the kind of case that convinces both the public and legislators to take action -- in the form of the DREAM Act.
"Her story is very inspiring," Caitlin Baggot, a director of an Oregon-based nonprofit where Andrea worked after college, told me.
"Andrea is a great person," says her Miami-based attorney, Ivania Jimenez, who is working to help Andrea stay in this country after her six-month stay of deportation runs out. "She's smart. She's a high school -- and college -- graduate. She came here as a minor. She's a hard worker. She's been in this country for more than five years. She's the perfect face for this."
Indeed, Andrea has campaigned for the legislation herself. Before she was arrested, her Facebook profile picture was just the DREAM Act logo.