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DREAM ACT panel to be held Thursday, last event in Hispanic Heritage Month

Students and community members will have their questions about the DREAM Act answered by a community panel on Thursday.

As a part of Hispanic Heritage month, the event will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

“We’ll have a panel of folks in the community, like students and professors, share some facts about the act, tell what it means to them and answer any questions,” said Assistant Director of Multicultural Student Services Keisha Janney.

Organized by MASS and the multicultural sorority Sigma Lambda Gamma, the event will inform students about the DREAM Act, a bill being pushed for by the non-profit organization One Michigan.

“DREAM stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors,” Janney said.

According to the One Michigan website, “the DREAM Act is a bipartisan bill, which if passed, will create an opportunity for certain undocumented workers to get onto a path of legalization.”

Janney said One Michigan will not attend the event.

“This isn’t just about Latinos, it applies to a lot of students,” Janney said. “We wanted to wrap up the Hispanic Month celebration by ending on something that’s going to make people think.”

Sigma Lambda Gamma President Alexandra Maldonado said instead of focusing on the positive and negatives of illegal immigration like last year, she wanted to plan something different.

“As much as you don’t want to accept it, you don’t know what people go through to try to reach the American dream,” Maldonado said.

The Mount Pleasant senior said the bill would enable illegal aliens to gain permanent alien residency, giving them the opportunity to pay in-state tuition and serve in the armed forces, among other things, if they meet certain criteria.

She said she encourages students to come with open minds.

“I wanted to make DREAM Act a part of Hispanic Heritage month so I could say I left Central presenting programs to students so they’re more educated,” she said. “People don’t always fall under black and white, there’s that gray area too.”