The 2012 Democratic National Convention made immigration history when Benita Veliz became the first illegal immigrant to deliver a speech at a national political convention.
Veliz is an advocate for the Dream Act, which would allow a path for illegal immigrants to obtain legal residency and U.S. citizenship if they enlist in the military or go to college.
“Like so many Americans of all races and backgrounds, I was brought here as a child,” Veliz said. “I graduated as a valedictorian of my high school class at the age of 16, and I went on to earn a double major at the age of 20 … I know I have something to contribute to my economy and my country. I just feel as American as any of my friends or neighbors.”
In 2009, Veliz was arrested for rolling through a stop sign. Because she had a Mexican consular card but no driver’s license, she was kept in jail over night and handed over to immigration authorities. Had it not been for President Obama’s deferred action for childhood arrivals, Veliz would have been deported.
The DNC featured other political speakers who told of the Democrats’ comprehensive immigration reform plans that would require immigrants to learn English and pay taxes. The Republicans, on the other hand, oppose all amnesty for illegal immigrants and see it as a means to encourage more law breaking by foreign aliens.
Immigration is one of the most important issues facing the 2012 Presidential Election, and joins jobs and the economy as the biggest influences affecting the Latino voting community.
This article is brought to you by Immigration Direct, a trusted resource for matters related to the government’s deferred action program. Take the Free Deferred Action Eligibility Quiz online today.