Even as a college graduate and tax-paying member of the community, Rosario Lopez is insecure about her future.
Lopez, who moved to the U.S. when she was 13 and graduated from UNC in 2008 with a biology degree, hopes to one day go to law school.
But her goals remain uncertain because she is an undocumented immigrant.
Rosario lost one possible avenue toward becoming a legal citizen when the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was defeated in the last congressional session.
The bill has been defeated multiple times.
“The DREAM Act would have helped me to have the ability to work in something that I want to work in, to pursue education without worrying that I will be deported,” Lopez, a co-founder of the advocacy group N.C. Dream Team, said.
The DREAM Act would have created a path to legal citizenship for some undocumented immigrants, like Lopez, who came to the U.S. as children and who complete two years of college or military service. Immigrants must also pass a criminal background check among other requirements.
But the act was defeated when a 55-41 vote in favor of the bill failed to break a Senate filibuster on Dec. 18, 2010.
“I think it is disappointing. This is a really smart, comprehensive bill,” said Lee Storrow, who was president of UNC Young Democrats while they were advocating for the bill.