DREAM Act & the Eric Balderas Case – UPDATED

June 16th, 2010 · 22 Comments

The Latino blogosphere is abuzz about the case of Eric Balderas, a DREAM Act student who was detained last week after attempting to board a plane from San Antonio to Boston. He currently attends Harvard and just finished his first year.

Balderas has lived in the US since he was four years old. His mother left Mexico fleeing from domestic violence taking Eric with her. Having grown up here in the US and been raised speaking English, he really doesn’t have any memories of his homeland and doesn’t even speak Spanish very well.

I, along with Seneca, have blogged about the DREAM Act and why it is so important for youth who have no say in how they arrive here in our country. Every year some 65,000 undocumented youth graduate from high school to find themselves scrambling for resources to attend college or pursue a course of training that would allow them to lead productive lives as young adults. That so many of these students persist despite the odds and disadvantages of their immigration status is remarkable. And Eric Balderas is a perfect example of that. The Harvard Crimson put out this video on Monday:

If you would like to show support for Eric, whose goal of becoming a cancer researcher, is being curtailed by our inequitable and inefficient immigration system, please take action here. Or alternatively, take action here and make some phone calls on behalf of the DREAMers.

Also, worth listening to is the commencement speech by the newly graduated Flavia de la Fuente, a DREAM Activist from Irvine, California, who addressed the struggles of her undocumented peers just this past weekend (hat tip to Gustavo Arellano for sharing this great speech and literally sharing the stage with his fellow Bruin and activist). She articulately explains why students like Eric need the DREAM Act.

UPDATED 6/19/10:
Eric has received deferred action on his deportation. You can read about it here.

Tags: community organizing and activism · Education · Immigration

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 irma // Jun 16, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    It is unfortunate the Mr. Balderas was not thinking when he boarded a Texas plane bound for Boston.
    It is obvious to anyone that in these anti-immigrant times, it unwise for an undocumented person try to board a plane in the United States.
    I am sad for Mr. Balderas, his time at Harvard may be over. I would advised him to take a train or bus to Boston until graduation day. Graduation day at Harvard for Mr. Balderas may never come – because no one advised him otherwise.

  • 2 kyledeb // Jun 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks for the support, Adriana! Keep up the good work.

  • 3 Anna // Jun 16, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Re: ” I would advised him to take a train or bus to Boston until graduation day.”

    Or not to leave Boston until graduation day. I hope that Harvard is able to secure legalization for him.

  • 4 irma // Jun 16, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    I used to work at Harvard – I think there will be significant internal pressure from donors to the university to step away from this issue. There are
    thousands of kids equally bright, who are documented- and come from similar backgrounds.
    Balderas may end up back in Mexico.

  • 5 VAM // Jun 16, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Great speech by Flavia de la Fuente!

  • 6 Pablo // Jun 18, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    I’m fairly new to the DREAM Act debate and am amazed that the president isn’t more its champion. Although, I hear that as of today, Evan Bayh of Indiana has given his support to it!!!

  • 7 Anonymous // Jun 19, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Hmmmm… last name is Balderas and I think this guy should be deported, along with the other ILLEGAL immigrants in this country. I’m not against immigration; I’m against ILLEGAL immigration….and rewarding those who break the law and expect to be treated better than our legal citizens and immigrants.

  • 8 irma // Jun 19, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Good news, ICE has decided not to deport Eric Balderas. So he can stay in school for now.

  • 9 Steve // Jun 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    You are NOT a citizen of the US regardless of how wonderful a student you might be. It is not the responsibility of the American public to make special accommodations for you or any illegal alien. Blame your parents for their misdeeds, not the INS.


  • 10 irma // Jun 19, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Dear Steve,

    You are right, we, the American public have the right to deny entry into our country. We also have the right to grant it. It would appear that
    US government has chosen to let Eric stay.

  • 11 Dream Act Supporter // Jun 20, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Isn’t this the land of opportunity? This country was built on immigrants from far away lands. All of you out there against immigration reform should take a good look at yourselves. Can you honestly say that you’ve done nothing wrong your entire life. People are coming to our country to make a better life for themselves. Who are we to turn them away. They do the jobs that no one else wants to do or thought about doing and now because the economy is suffering you want to complain about illegal immigrants taking away jobs from US citizens. If it bothers you so much, then wash your own clothes, babysit your own children, clean your own house, pick up your own food instead of having it delivered by the immigrant delivery boy. You might even have a best friend who is here illegally. Instead of trying to get rid of 12 million people, give them residency or citizenship. They’ve been here for years already. Alot of them go to school, pay taxes, support their families just like we do. Eric, I hope your allowed to stay. You should be proud of your accomplishments.

  • 12 Anna // Jun 20, 2010 at 11:53 am

    I’m glad he gets to stay. Close call!

  • 13 HeavyGabe // Jun 21, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    I’m glad this kid gets to stay and finish up at Harvard. He sounds like a bright young man. However, he is still here illegally. Something needs to be done to get him legal status to work. With his brains, he should be a great tax payer.

  • 14 Britney // Jun 22, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    The land of opportunity ,The land of dreams this is America and this is what it is known for !! and we wouldn’t be America if we destroy this student’s dream !!

  • 15 What the ... // Jun 22, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    It’s ashame that Eric Baldera’s parents did not have the foresight to initiate the US naturalization process when they decided illegally they wanted the US to be their home. The fact remains he is still in the US illegally, but with the intelligence level, it would appear that he would be aware of his status, and would seek a sponsor (I would imagine there would be many), and go forward. Thats the law, and it should be abided. I know for a fact, that many Americans have no problem with legal immigration it is ilegal immigration that is problem. Calling peoply anti-immigration would imply racism, it is ilegal immigration that needs to be clarified. So lets stop the violin music, and the victim mentality that sets the Latino backward and do the right thing and go forward…

  • 16 What the ... // Jun 23, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Yes, America is the land of opportunity, but you have to sign up for that opportunity. You can’t go to a card table and be a spectator, and claim you a part of the game, you have to place your money down and be a participant…

  • 17 Flavia de la Fuente on the DreamACT | Tony Herrera // Jun 24, 2010 at 11:38 am

    […] along with the case of Eric Balderas the undocumented Harvard student who faces deportation at the Latino Politics Blog and at Orange Juice which bills itself as, “Orange County’s Top Political Blog”. […]

  • 18 irma // Jun 24, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    What the…,
    Read further, Eric Balderas will not be deported.
    The US government has decided that he can

    “indefinitely stay” until they decide otherwise.
    I would say Mr. Balderas is in the “game” now.

  • 19 Carlos Cachima // Jun 30, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    I’m so happy for Eric, he can stay and I hope the Dream Act will help other students like Eric.

  • 20 Tommy // Jul 7, 2010 at 10:19 am

    What do you think about letting all the disadvantaged people, or even just anyone from like Africa, Korea, China, Iran, Russia etc., get immediate legal status, for just entering our country. Are they any less deserving than those south of the border??

    I have family that took years, and spent thousands of dollars, to ge…t the right to live here legally, how do you justify giving amnesty to all these people who jumped to the front of the line, and illegaly entered in front of all those who follow the laws?

    And how can we justify giving in-state tuition to illegals, when my brother from Georgia, he had to pay out of state fees,(in California) not to mention the rate international students pay.

    that’s one of your biggest problems, you want everything without a fight, with out answering any questions, jump to the front of the line, blame everyone else, and have absolutely no gratitude for all you’ve been unjustly given at the expense of those who have worked and played by the rules.

    you want everything for free, and screw the folks who call you on the fact that you think you somehow deserve special entitlements.

    too bad this is not Japan, Germany, Mexico or any other country, because they would at the least have thrown him out, if not had him arrested and made you pay for all he had stolen from not only the USA, but the student who’s place he unfairly took!

    It’s obviously very a complex issue, but if we’re all created equal, then why should there be special treatment for just a few, very vocal mostly south of the border groups? What about those who have little or no voice.

  • 21 Pablo Manriquez: Latinos Are Underrepresented on Capitol Hill | // Jul 29, 2010 at 9:52 am

    […] only 48% say that they themselves plan to get a college degree. Combine these data with the estimated 65,000 bright, young American DREAMers who get stiff-armed every year in the college a… and a diluted applicant pool for qualified congressional staffers becomes increasingly plausible. […]

  • 22 Latinos Aren’t Important on Capitol Hill : Capital Latino // Sep 2, 2010 at 11:21 am

    […] only 48% say that they themselves plan to get a college degree. Combine these data with the estimated 65,000 bright, young American DREAMers who get stiff-armed every year in the college a… and a diluted applicant pool for qualified congressional staffers becomes increasingly plausible. […]

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