BREAKING: Faust, Balderas Thank Senator for Sponsoring DREAM Act

Courtesy of Kris Snibbe

Eric Balderas '13 (left), University President Drew G. Faust, and Illinois Senator Richard J. Durbin discuss the DREAM Act at the U.S. Capitol.

During a brief meeting in Washington D.C. this afternoon, University President Drew G. Faust and Eric Balderas '13—the undocumented student who faced possible deportation this summer—thanked a U.S. senator who helped Balderas attain his deferred action status.

Following the meeting, which took place in the office of Illinois Senator Richard J. Durbin, Faust released a statement reinforcing the University's stance on proposed legislation that would help undocumented students like Balderas.

“Eric and I want to thank Senator Durbin for his sponsorship of the DREAM Act, which would throw a lifeline to thousands of students across the country like Eric who, through no fault of their own, face uncertain futures due to their immigration status," Faust said in the statement.

If passed, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act would provide qualified undocumented youth with a six-year-long conditional path to citizenship upon the completion of two years of higher education or two years of military service.

"These young men and women are working hard in school and are dedicated to a future living in and contributing to our communities or serving in the military," Faust said. "I believe it is in our best interest to educate all students to their full potential."

On June 7, Balderas, who illegally immigrated to the United States from Mexico with his family at the age of 4, was detained by immigration authorities when he tried to use his Harvard identification to board a plane from his hometown of San Antonio, Texas to Boston.

Balderas' incident led to an outpouring of support for the aspiring molecular and cellular biology concentrator. With Durbin's help, Balderas was granted permission to stay in the United States indefinitely. While U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement can still revoke the deferral, as of now, Balderas may continue studying at Harvard without facing the threat of deportation.

—Check TheCrimson.com for more updates.

—Staff writer Xi Yu can be reached at xyu@college.harvard.edu.

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