Members of the NC DREAM Team, others detained at Charlotte rally for equal access to education
Ten undocumented immigrants were detained by police Tuesday following a rally about equal access to education in Charlotte.
Members of the N.C. DREAM Team, an advocacy group for undocumented minors, gathered on the campus of Central Piedmont Community College to rally for equal access to education.
After the event, which drew a crowd of about 40 observers according to school spokesman Jeff Lowrance, activists walked off campus to the intersection of 4th Street and Kings Avenue.
Several members, including seven undocumented immigrants who spoke at the rally, sat in the middle of the street, blocking traffic, Lowrance said.
Police showed up to restore the flow of traffic and handcuffed several of the activists including the seven speakers, he said.
Dani Moore, coordinator of the network of immigrant advocates at the N.C. Justice Center, attended the rally and witnessed the protest in the street.
“The people were cuffed with plastic cuffs and they were taken away in a police van from the spot,” she said.
Moore said she was concerned with some of the actions she witnessed from police.
“I did see some evidence of profiling supporters in the crowd and I’m not sure why they picked some of the people other than the seven that spoke,” Moore said about the people who were taken away by police.
Domenic Powell, one of the founders of the N.C. DREAM Team, said the group is currently reviewing legal observation notes and a video of the protest.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police were unavailable for comment Tuesday.
The DREAM Team released a press release before the rally stating that undocumented youth would be speaking out “against the threats they face at the hands of this Administration and the lack of educational access nationwide.”
Alicia Torres, one of the seven who spoke at the rally, said she decided to speak because equal access to education is a right that should not be denied to undocumented immigrants. She was later taken into custody by police, according to a press release sent by members of the group.
“It is a right being denied to undocumented youth in North Carolina because of the current policy in place where undocumented immigrants have to pay out-of-state tuition,” she said. “Not only that, they have to wait until the last day of registration to register.”
She said these regulations were a systematic way of keeping undocumented immigrants from going to school.
The group’s press release states the group has to fend for itself now due to the Obama administration applying more discretionary power toward undocumented immigrants and Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., voting against the DREAM act in December.
“It is clear that undocumented youth have no sincere political ally and have chosen to fight for themselves, their education and their communities,” the press release states.
But Austin Gilmore, a political director of UNC Young Democrats, said the group should not turn its back on the Democratic party. “By and large Democrats are supportive of the Hispanic community and will continue to be so.”
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