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Former Lees-McRae College student Uriel Alberto, pictured here with an unidentified child, was arrested during a protest at a meeting of the House Select Committee on the State’s Role in Immigration Policy last week. Advocates say he has ended his hunger strike. Photo provided by NC DREAM Team.

UPDATE, March 14: Officials have granted a $7,500 bond to Uriel Alberto, a man facing deportation after protesting at a state legislative committee looking at North Carolina immigration policies and enforcement. The move means that Alberto, who ended his hunger strike earlier in the week, could be released.

UPDATE, March 12: Advocates for Uriel Alberto sent out a press release today stating: “Uriel Alberto has ended his hunger strike after being placed in solitary confinement and given limited access to those fighting for his release. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has placed a hold on him since February 29 because of misdemeanors on his record.” The press release came from NC DREAM Team, one of several immigrant-rights groups in North Carolina who are campaigning for Alberto’s release.

Read the original report, published March 9, here:

Former WNC college student on hunger strike following arrest at state immigration meeting

A man arrested last week during a protest at the House Select Committee on the State’s Role in Immigration Policy has been on a hunger strike for at least 155 hours, an advocacy group said yesterday.

Uriel Alberto, 24, Estephania Mijangos and Cynthia Martinez were arrested Feb. 29 in Raleigh for protesting during the House committee, which is looking at the state’s immigration policies and enforcement. Alberto is a former student at Lees-McRae College, in the Avery County town of Banner Elk. He spent three semesters there between 2006 and 2008, college officials confirmed Thursday.

The three have said they are undocumented; Mijangos and Martinez have been since been released since the protest at the committee. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has begun deportation proceedings for Alberto, according to the NC DREAM Team, an immigrant-rights advocacy group.

It issued a press release Tuesday saying Alberto has a 2-year-old son, had been on a hunger strike, “and intends to continue it until he is free.” Its website shows photos of other young people holding signs declaring they are on hunger strikes in support of Alberto.

El Cambio, an immigrant-rights group based in Yadkin County, lists Alberto as a team leader for the organization, and according to a story in the Winston-Salem Journal, Alberto is most recently from Winston-Salem. El Cambio and NC DREAM Team support the proposed federal DREAM Act, which would, if passed, allow young people who meet certain requirements to go to college or enlist in the military as a way to become citizens.

A video of the protest, arrests and the entire committee meeting can be viewed here. It appears to have been recorded by a protestor. The video was distributed by NC DREAM Team.

Rep. Ray Rapp, a Democrat from Mars Hill representing Haywood, Madison and Yancey counties, is the only Western North Carolina representative on the committee.

Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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7 Comments

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  1. As is the case with any “undocumented” migrants, this young man can attain citizenship through service to our country. You want to be an American? No problem. The Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force will be happy to sign you up. For those who HAVE become citizens via service to our country: Welcome to America, we are happy to have you.

  2. Undocumented (illegal alien) Hispanic vows to continue hunger strike until he is set free.

    I’d be concerned if he were here legally. Now, not so much.

  3. Please note that comments calling for or condoning physical harm toward a person or groups of people will not be approved, per our editorial policies. We also will not approve comments from those using obvious pseudonyms. Please try to keep the conversation civil. Thank you, and contact me directly if you have any questions.

  4. What’s wrong with this country? If someone is here illegally they should be caught taken to the border and made to go home. Instead we open our arms, give them free food stamps, housing a job and then let them enroll in one of our colleges and get tuition breaks. Guess who pays for all this. Hey America it’s YOU and ME…. Wake the HELL Up… People