Published On: Fri, Sep 7th, 2012

Benita Veliz, illegal immigrant, speaks at DNC

Illegal immigrant activist Benita Veliz was given a prime-time speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday night, where she championed President Barack Obama’s recent decision to stop enforcing certain aspects of immigration law.

Veliz, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, gave a short address to the convention audience, and then introduced Telemundo talk-show host Cristina Saralegui.

In her speech, Veliz claimed to be “from San Antonio, Texas,” saying that she was “like so many Americans.”

“My name is Benita Veliz and I’m from San Antonio, Texas. Like so many Americans, of all races and backgrounds, I was brought here as a child,” Veliz said. “I’ve been here ever since.”

However, her profile on the activist website dreamactivist.org reveals that she came to the United States from Mexico at age 8 on a tourist visa and that her family then illegally overstayed.

Veliz was profiled in a March 2009 editorial in the New York Times after she launched a public campaign to prevent her deportation after she was arrested in Texas, caught driving without a license. The Times editorial stated that Veliz had an ID card issued by the Mexican consulate.

Beliz has been an activist for the DREAM Act – a proposed law that would allow illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children to be granted legal status if they go to college or serve in the military – since college, where she wrote her honors thesis on the legislation, according to the Times.

“I know I have something to contribute to my economy and my country,” Veliz said on Wednesday, referring to America, not Mexico. “I feel just as American as any of my friends or neighbors.”

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which opposes illegal immigration, called Veliz’s appearance in Charlotte a “celebration of lawlessness.”

“Dreamers” at a sit in at John McCain’s office in 2010 photo/Dreamer movement

The following is a copy of a speech by Benita Veliz, DREAM Act activist at the Democratic National Convention.

My name is Benita Veliz, and I’m from San Antonio, Texas. Like so many Americans of all races and backgrounds, I was brought here as a child. I’ve been here ever since.

I graduated as valedictorian of my class at the age of 16 and earned a double major at the age of 20. I know I have something to contribute to my economy and my country. I feel just as American as any of my friends or neighbors.

But I’ve had to live almost my entire life knowing I could be deported just because of the way I came here.

President Obama fought for the DREAM Act to help people like me. And when Congress refused to pass it, he didn’t give up. Instead, he took action so that people like me can apply to stay in our country and contribute. We will keep fighting for reform, but while we do, we are able to work, study and pursue the American dream.

President Obama has fought for my community. Now it’s my honor to introduce one of the leaders in my community who is fighting for him. From her television show to her magazines to her radio network, she is truly an icon: ladies and gentlemen, Cristina Saralegui.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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