A Dreamer from across the border

Published 12:15 am Monday, January 18, 2016

By David Post

B

rayan is a dreamer with dreams of becoming a music producer.

Everyone has inside them a Snoopy riding atop his doghouse as the World War I Flying Ace doing battle against the Red Baron with dreams of being great and heroic.

“American Idol” attracts tens of thousands of rock- star wannabes each year.

Garage Band, now a free app on all new cell phones, offers a billion people the dream of creating their own music in the palm of their hand, instantaneously posting it onto YouTube to delight millions of fans worldwide, and hopefully be launched into stardom.

Brayan has equipped his bedroom with a professional music studio. His house rocks with R&B, rap and hip-hop. Mom even says, occasionally, “I like that one.”

Brayan has a label, a graphic designer, a photographer, a clothing line and manager, and a film director. He has produced three music videos. One of his productions now in development, “Suicide Poetry,” is both a tribute to his friend who committed suicide at age 14 and a warning to other students.

Brayan is an 18-year-old high school senior who will graduate this spring. He works 30-35 hours a week during school and 55-60 hours during school breaks. He pays for his music studio, cell phone, and car and gives his parents what is left over to help cover family expenses.

Brayan was born in Mexico. When he was a year old, his parents sneaked into the United States. He and his parents are undocumented — or illegal for those who want them shipped back to Mexico. Home for Brayan is the United States. When his sister and brother, born in the United States, turn 18 in several years, they can petition for his parents to be allowed to live in the United States.

Brayan is a Dreamer, with a big “D,” for the DREAM Act, or the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors. He meets all the requirements of the bipartisan legislation supported by President George W. Bush in 2001. He entered the country before age 16, will graduate from high school, has no criminal record, has good moral character, and hopes to go to college.

However, the DREAM Act never passed Congress, and as his Crosby Scholar mentor, I’m learning that helping him find a path to college is almost impossible. Although more than 20 states have passed their own versions of a Dream Act, North Carolina didn’t. Therefore, Brayan is not considered a legal resident of North Carolina, so he must pay out-of-state tuition anywhere he goes to college, meaning that Rowan-Cabarrus Community College would cost him over $16,000 per year. In addition, he cannot qualify for federally guaranteed student loans. (Hint to Catawba College — find a scholarship for him!)

Brayan understands his fate. He wants to study music. As a high school senior, he is taking classes at Salisbury High School to graduate, studying music at Central Piedmont in Charlotte, and just in case, studying auto mechanics at RCCC so he’ll be able to do something to support himself when he graduates.

Brayan has a Social Security card that permits him to work legally. His parents have worker permits. But they are legally invisible.

Brayan is a dreamer. He recently submitted a video to the national Coast to Coast Tours competition in Miami and was selected as one of 12 finalists. The prize for the top three is the opportunity to work with a Grammy producer. He saved the money to go to and perform in Miami.

If he doesn’t win, he will become an auto mechanic, hope he’s not deported, Donald Trump style, and wait five years for his sister to become a citizen and invite him to live here legally, which can then take another 10 years.

Imagine, in the words of John Lennon, if every citizen born here worked that hard.

 David Post lives in Salisbury and serves on the City Council.

 

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