New York State Youth Leadership Council

Walk to Albany for the NY DREAM Act 4/9 – 4/17



Apr 12


From April 9 – April 17, undocumented youth and allies from the New York State Youth Leadership Council will be walking 150 miles from New York City to Albany. Supporters will join the walkers along the way. The NYSYLC, which originally introduced the New York Dream Act, is committed to seeing this bill pass by June and is ready to walk any number of miles to advocate for legislation that would address the barriers that undocumented youth face. Although we may be restricted by current immigration laws, we refuse to be silenced. If you have any questions or want to donate supplies please contact us at

Our Goals?

  • To raise support about the New York Dream Act (S4179/A6829) and how it impacts us.
  • That Governor Cuomo come out in support and pass it this year.
  • To get more senators on board with the New York Dream Act.

Meet The Walkers

My name is Armando Morales, I’m a student at the New York city college of Technology. My family is originally from Mexico.

The passage of the New York Dream Act is important to me because it’s a step towards an actual immigration reform. If the New York Dream Act passes it would help me and many others; for example, I’m a single father and it’s hard to go to go to school full-time and work full-time and it’s very stressful because I have to work twice as hard just to get myself and my daughter ahead in life. I’m an electro-mechanical engineering major, and in school I have to take five to six classes in order to graduate on time but since I have to pay for everything out of my pockets I have to take half of those classes per semester. So it takes me even longer just to graduate and at time I have to take semesters off just to save money so I can pay for my classes and supplies and at times I have to work at two job just to meet ends need. So I walk to show my strength to everyone but most important to show my daughter that when something is not right or unfair that you should stand up and speak out.

My name is Cristopher Chavez and I’m a senior at Lehman College. My family originally came from Mexico.

I am walking because it is essential to the movement to expand beyond the community we live in, we need to go to the communities where leaders are yet to be made, where communities are yet to know what the NY Dream Act is all about and why we need it. I am walking because as an undocumented student my struggle and pain can not be felt by anyone but me; by walking I am sharing a piece of my struggle with the communities we come across with while we walk to Albany. I am walking as a symbol of the struggles and hardships that undocumented youth go through. Because while others can drive to Albany I am walking miles to reach my goal.

The New York Dream Act is important because education should not be impossible to achieve because of our financial status. As undocumented youth we pay taxes and should be given the opportunity to give back to our community as we shall receive the same support from them, too.

If you believe in this cause, help me reach Albany by making a donation.

My name is Eric Cevan Nieves Jr. and I’m a freshmen at York College. My family is originally from Puerto Rico.

I’m walking to bring awareness to those who don’t really know much about the New York Dream Act. Another reason I’m walking is because this is an issue affecting many youth that are coming to America to pursue their dreams. Dreams that weren’t available to them in their native countries. I’m walking to help those who need this piece of legislation, to get their voice out but also, to hear their stories and their struggles when trying to reach higher education.

The New York Dream Act does not impact me directly but it’s important. It’s not fair for immigrants, who possibly have been living here for a long time, not have access to financial aid they deserve for school. Most immigrants can’t always afford the standard tuition to go to college but then you force them to pay double and that’s a big NO! It is very unjust to do this to the people who come here to live better and enjoy life. They’re pushed down way below society. It’s important for people that come or live here to have access to the same and equal opportunities in this country.

My name is Gary Santos Mendoza and I’m a graduate student at Lehman College. I’m 25 years old and my family is originally from Puerto Rico and Ecuador.

I’m walking to support and give my all to a prospective law that i belive that can help out my people as well it gives me the opportunity to continue advocating for student and the prospective future for our people.

I’m supporting the passage of an important piece of legislation that can benefit the future growth of this country I’ve called home for the past quarter century of my life. I was born in the United States and as an ally I feel that it is my duty to stand up for my fellow brothers and sisters not only in New York but all over the United States to bring awareness to education. Education is the foundation for any youth to make it. As a strong advocate for every child to go to college and reach their potential goal, In attending a college, community college, or university is one that is still needed and has to be further promoted to give our future a chance to experience collegiate life. This means helping out my friends & those in my (familia) family, Most importantly for those who couldn’t make it. You have a voice now.

Estoy apoyando un projecto de ley que creo que puede ayudar a muchas personas. Si la ‘New York Dream Act’ fuera realidad beneficiaria el futuro del estado. Naci en los Estado Unidos y como un aliado, siento que es mi deber, y tambien el de los Estados Unidos, darle una voz a la educación. Educación es la fundacion que todo joven necesita para llegar alcanzar sus metas. En el estado de Nueva York necesitamos el Dream Act, esto ayudaria a mis amig@s y mi familia.

My name is Jacki Cinto and I’m a senior at The City College of NY, Graduate School of Education. My family originally came from Mexico.

I am walking because as an undocumented student, I know first hand of all the challenges and struggles undocumented students go through when they try to continue with their college education. I know the depression, the frustration, uncertainty and anger that an undocumented high school student faces during their senior year.

I am fighting for the NY Dream Act because even if i would not benefit from it I do not want any other bright undocumented youth going through the same experiences. I want them to see that their education dreams can be real. I want them to see that it is possible and that the state that we consider our home is willing to give us the opportunity that the federal government has denied us for so long, the dream of giving back to our communities and achieving our full potential. As an aspiring teacher i see the NY Dream Act as the representation for the equal access to higher education and i will not stop fighting until it becomes a reality.

Consider making a donation that will help me get to Albany.

My name is Karen Rojas and I’m 23 years old. I graduated from Lehman College and my family is originally from Mexico.

I’m walking because everyone has a dream regardless of immigration status and I understand the importance of a support system to achieve those dreams.

The passage of the New York Dream Act is important to me because as immigrants in this country, our parents’ taxes should allow undocumented students to access help from the state to help ease the economic burden that comes from trying to pursue a post secondary education. Even though the New York Dream Act does not affect me directly, I wish I would have had a bill like this to help me when I was an undocumented student in college.

Please sponsor me, your donation will help me reach Albany.

My name is Luis Saavedra, and I’m a sophomore at Lehman College. My family is originally from Mexico.

I am walking because any student aspiring to higher education should have equal access to it and the NY DREAM Act is the path to take. America taught me that education is the key to success and I can’t remember a day where I was told that it was a privilege. As a fundamental American principle, in fact a human principle, education is equality. While I’m getting my college education, I’ve seen that countless undocumented students are in dire need of financial assistance and as such, if the New York DREAM Act passes, it will relieve the financial and emotional burden of not been able to strive for a college education. Undocumented youth go to great extents just to finance their education, whether it’s working three jobs or taking a semester off or even working three jobs and attending college at the same time. Undocumented immigrants have paid approximately $662 million in income, sales and property taxes to the state and as such, education is a small prize to give. So by easing the financial burden of undocumented youth, it will facilitate New York’s economic competitiveness by investing on a highly-skilled contributing workforce. I admire undocumented youth for their tenacity to enroll in college and seek an education, for that’s not a crime. See yourself through the eyes of the undocumented immigrant experience and of not having the resources and now I ask you: “What would you do if you were undocumented and seeking an education?” I ask you to support me in this walk.

Please make a donation to help me get to Albany.

My name is Lawrence Hall and I graduated from Williamsburg Prep High School. My family is from Queens, New York.

My best friend, Eric Nieves Jr who is also walking, called me and said he needed me to join him in the fight for the New York Dream Act. Before I responded, I listened to why he was doing this. I thought it wasn’t fair that just because someone is undocumented they have to pay twice as much for school. Will this injustice stop? No! Not until we do something about it.

We have to take actions like these, going on walks like this and speak out. He is a brother to me and so I told him I was up for it and would join him for the fight. 9 days is nothing compared to the time youth have waited for equal access to education. I am proud to be a voice to those who need it and may be scared to speak out. I want to give back to my community. It really fills my heart with joy.

This is important to me because everyone should have the same rights for school as I do. I will be walking along with others so we can put a stop to this madness and start making the change America needs for the citizens and undocumented people coming to this country so they’re able to live their dreams.

My name is Marlen Fernandez and I am a upper sophomore at Lehman College. My family originally came from Mexico.

I will be walking to raise awareness about the struggles that undocumented youth face. I believe that it is time to stand up and make our voices be heard. We can no longer idly wait for change to come, rather we must be pioneers and help pave the path for this change.To me this walk is a representation of my dreams and the long path I have been climbing to achieve the top. I walk to represent the dream that we all as dreamers share and to raise awareness about how important it is to pass the New York Dream Act. I believe that is a basic human right to have equal access to education.This walk offers the opportunity to uphold such values and to take a stand for the education rights of undocumented youth.

I myself am undocumented. Because of this the passing of the NYDA is extremely important to me. While the NYDA will not provide a path towards citizenship, it is a crucial to creating equal higher education opportunities for undocumented youth. I feel that the NYDA will open up higher education to those who might not have otherwise been able to attend college. Because of this I find it is of great urgency to pass the NYDA and get more people to go to college. Personally it will allow for me to further focus on my studies as I financing school will no longer be a significant issue. The NYDA will not only bring economic relief to myself but to other dreamers as well. It will bring dreamers like myself closer to achieve our dreams.

Can you help me make it to Albany by making a donation?

My name is Minhtam Nguyen and I’m a Senior in Brooklyn College. I’m 22 years old and my family is originally from Vietnam.

I’m walking to Albany to spread awareness among people who are unaware of the struggles that many students, who are undocumented, face after they have graduated high school. Also, to show that not all people who are undocumented are dangerous to our community, and are actually genuine resilient citizens of humanity.

The passing of the New York Dream Act is important to me because it would ease the life of a student. The average student, faces piles of school work in order to stay ahead, but the undocumented student faces piles of school work, the idea of no hope, and the feeling of being trapped forever in the state of being unrecognized as a United States citizen. With the Dream Act, these undocumented students may ease their mind on the agenda of schooling, and solely focus on finishing school, rather than how to pay for school. The Dream Act is important because it provides an equal opportunity to those who have been misplaced and misjudged their whole life.

Make a donation so I can finish this walk.

My name is Razeen Zaman and I graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. My family is originally from Bangladesh.

I am walking to help raise awareness about a bill that would change the lives of thousands of students in New York. It is difficult to understand why so many harbor such resentment and hatred in their hearts for students who just want an education. While not all of us were born into privilege, the New York Dream Act would help level the playing field by allowing undocumented immigrants access to financial aid — key to realizing higher educational goal. While there are many who have nothing to offer to the immigration reform debate other than “This is a nation of laws,” we would be wise to remember that there was a time when slavery, the Jim Crow laws, the Dred Scott decision, the Chinese Exclusion act, Japanese-American internment, etc. etc. was also legitimate. Clearly the laws of this nation have not always been humane, and it is up to all of us to challenge unjust policies and laws no matter what year and political climate we are in.

My name is Steven Deheeger and I’m a student at the New School. My family is originally from France and the United States.

I am walking because we’re all in this together. Personally for me this goes beyond the Dream Act (which is important in itself). I am walking alongside my brothers and sisters because – papers, borders, and rigid categories aside – we are all people who deserve the same opportunities.

Immigration policy in the United States has been racist since the country’s inception when it was gruesomely stolen from Native Americans and built with the forced labor of slaves. Since then, history can attest that the groups of people included and excluded into the United States are informed by a structurally racist and capitalistic agenda.

Today’s immigration policies are an extension of that history and fighting for the Dream Act is just one piece of a much bigger puzzle. Unjust laws come and go but we will always have our dignity. The words of Rosa Parks and others involved in the struggle ring true today: “My feet is tired but my soul is rested.” We will not rest until our shared humanity is recognized and I will remember those words during the walk.

Many people who I’m very close to in my life are living in the United States without papers. Sharing lives with people who are living some of the struggles and hardships associated with that reality makes this issue very real and very unpolitical. It comes down to something simple – I want the people that I love to have the same opportunities as anyone else.

My name is Victor Pajarito, I’m a lower Senior at Lehman College. I’m from Mexico and I’m 21 years old.

I am walking to show my dedication and support for the New York State DREAM Act, and to demonstrate to the world how far I will go to achieve my DREAMs! I am also walking for my fellow DREAMers who face the same problems as undocumented youth. I want to demonstrate that the pain of walking a few miles will never compare to the pain that we as DREAMers feel, of being stuck in a limbo.

The passage of the NY Dream Act is important to me because, yes it may not give me citizenship but it will help me pay for school and allow me to solemnly focus on school and thus bring me a little bit closer to my DREAM. It will not only help me directly but also anyone who may be in my shoes and worry about paying for school and getting an education, because many are not as lucky to continue their education because many think that there is no hope for them.

Please help me complete this walk by making a monetary donation here.

My name is Ying Lin, I’m a student at Brooklyn College and my family is originally from China.

I am walking to Albany because I am an undocumented immigrant who wants to have a future like all the other kids. I believe the New York Dream Act is my only hope to have the right, and equal access, to a better future. This better future starts with a better education. I’m doing all this so that I can to make it happen.

The New York Dream Act is important to me because it gives us all, regardless of status, the rights that other people have. I currently go to college and my parents are the ones that are making it possible for me to go because they’re loaning me the money. What if I didn’t have the opportunity? How would I pay for school? The New York Dream Act is important to me because I deserve at least the right to go to college. The New York Dream Act would make things a lot easier for my family.

My name is Yohan Garcia and I’m a junior at Hunter College of the City University of New York. I am originally from Puebla Mexico.

I am walking because I believe that education is a human right we should all have regardless of our immigration status. I am walking because we need to put an end to the struggles and challenges that undocumented youth face while trying to pursuit their dreams. I am walking because I want to walk with other dreamers in an effort to bring awareness to other communities about the importance of passing the New York Dream Act while keeping the pressure on our state legislature until they come together and pass the New York Dream Act.

The New York Dream Act bill will benefit many undocumented youth like me, who dream with becoming professionals. The passage of the New York Dream Act will give us access to TAP and scholarships. Many of us often lack the money to pay for school, and either end up taking time off or take one or two classes every semester because we can’t afford to pay for more. Among us are future lawyers, doctors, nurses, elected officials, engineers, and business leaders. The statistics show that we can better our state and the country’s economy. I’m a strong supporter of the New York Dream Act, and I won’t stop fighting until this legislation becomes a reality.

Would you make a donation to help me through this walk?

  • Let's Dream Big

    I am so proud of those who are taking the initiative to push this movement. The legislation must be passed as there are tens of thousands of students residing in NY who lack access to valuable opportunities due to the lack of #SSN. I truly feel for those who are fighting for The Dream Act as I understand the amount of frustration and disappointment that comes with not being able to fully participate in society. Perhaps it wouldn't be appropriate to legalize ALL undocumented individuals right away; however, it is absolutely necessary for students, who are planning on studying, living, AND CONTRIBUTING to the economy (contrary to what many believe).
    While I could not walk to Albany myself, I heartily support the efforts of NYSYLC and I pray that something will happen soon.

  • Jimmy


    • Bunny

      Just FYI, unless you aret Native American, this is not "YOUR" country either.

  • Jacki

    Very proud of all the walkers who with each step stood up for our rights as Undocumented Americans in this country. This is our country, our home!! Love to you all!!