Uriel Alberto, arrested on February 29th in Raleigh, North Carolina during a protest of U.S. immigration policies, has been released from prison, yet still faces possible deportation. The 24 year old, although born in Mexico, has lived in the United States for the past 17 years. After his arrest, the father of a toddler began a hunger strike in the Wake County jail as many online campaigns began to prevent his deportation.
Although his recent release from prison and the immigration bond granted this week shows promise for the young father, he still will continue to fight his disorderly conduct charge as well as the possible deportation back to Mexico. The disorderly conduct charge occurred during a meeting of the House Select Committee as North Carolina’s role in immigration policy was being discussed. Uriel, along with two others, Estephania Mijangos and Cynthia Martinez all stood up during the meeting and announced that they were undocumented immigrants. Alberto stated, “My name is Uriel Alberto. I am undocumented and I am unafraid. I refuse to be bullied and intimidated by this committee and choose to empower my community.” All three were later transported to the Wake County jail; however only Alberto was held as he was the only of the three with a previous police record.
As a high school student, Alberto loved track and had dreams of continuing it in college. Without a social security number he was unable to apply for financial aid and therefore unable to attend college. Soon after, Alberto was convicted of speeding, driving while impaired as well as with a revoked license. He was also convicted of throwing fruit at a moving vehicle. Some of these past incidents could create difficulties as the court weighs his deportation case. A judge in immigration court will typically consider whether or not the applicant has been in the country for ten years or more, if good moral character is evident, as well as if they have a child who is a U.S. citizen that would suffer from their deportation. His disorderly conduct charge will be examined by judges in Wake County.
Last summer, President Obama, stated that he would put a higher priority on deporting immigrants with serious criminal records. Deportations under Obama’s administration are almost 30 percent higher than the annual average during the second Bush administration term. According to a poll by the Pew Hispanic Center based in Washington D.C., 59 percent of Latinos do not approve of Obama’s handling of deportations.
Yet, President Obama is a strong supporter of the Dream Act and many advocates of this act are supporting Alberto. According to some of his online supporters on Facebook and Twitter, “He took a brave stand for immigration rights, and now he may get deported for it.”