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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Miami woman pressing for Dream Act: 'I am as American as apple pie'



gaby2.jpgGaby Pacheco has an academic resume to die for: She graduated from Felix Varela Senior High School in Miami with a 4.3 GPA, completed more than 1,000 hours of community service, and took 10 AP courses while playing in the orchestra and on the basketball, cross country and track and field teams. Oh, and she was in JROTC.

But because she is not an American citizen, having been brought here by her parents from Ecuador, Pacheco could not receive a scholarship she earned. Still, she went to Miami-Dade College for a bachelor's in special education. Now Pacheco, 25, wants to become a musical therapist to deal with people with disabilities. She's hopeful she'll get some help through the Dream Act, legislation that would grant a path to citizenship to high-achieving immigrant students.

"Honestly I feel I am as American as apple pie," Pacheco said during a conference call this afternoon sponsored by Dream Act advocates. "I am an American stuck in a bad situation who is asking just for an opportunity to be legally recognized. The Dream Act will allow me to serve and give back to the country I love."

The conference call announced a radio and print ad campaign to urge reluctant lawmakers, including Sen. George LeMieux of Florida, to support the bill, up for a vote in the lame-duck session. The ads will run in Miami starting today through the end of the week.

The group behind the effort is made up of representatives from the AFL-CIO, SEIU, America’s Voice, Campaign for Community Change, and the Reform Immigration for America Campaign.


[Last modified: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 2:09pm]


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