A young man, Fredd Reyes, who has lived 22 of his 24 years in North Carolina is now awaiting deportation in a for-profit prison in Georgia, which only makes the headlines for abusing inmates, because his parents brought him to the United States as a child. Despite the fact that they came here from Guatemala after facing death and persecution, a federal judge denied their request for asylum in 2000.
Reyes earned his Associates Degree from Davidson County Community College and later transferred to Guilford Tech. The morning he was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, who knocked on his door at 5 a.m., he was supposed to take an exam.
Reyes isn't a criminal, he doesn't consider any other country to be his home, he didn't come here on his own accord, he's been separated from his family and his education cut short. And, for what? So we can feel good about sending an undocumented immigrant "home"?
On top of everything else, Reyes qualifies for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM, Act, which would help him become a legal citizen. Unfortunately, the legislation has been snagged in Congress for years. But, instead of evaluating how our system has let him and his family down, we've decided instead to dedicate thousands of dollars to deport him? Seriously? What we need to be doing is making sure this young man graduates.
Change.org notes that Reyes is eligible for the DREAM Act. Like others who have faced the injustice of our immigration system and the Stewart Facility, Fredd has the potential for an approved green card awaiting him on the other side of the walls that now deprive him of his freedom, they write.
Reyes case is yet another perfect example of the inherent problems of our immigration system. It paints a clear picture of a young, law-abiding young person aspiring to greater education and community involvement being stopped in his or her tracks by a system that fails to take into account the complexities of the issue.
Here's Fredd Reyes and his dad, Fredi, on YouTube. We're threatened by these folks? Really?
Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.