An organization of young immigrants here is seeking to educate and organize undocumented students in Texas and the country in general so that they know their rights and the opportunities that are open to them.

The San Antonio Immigrant Youth Movement is made up mostly of university students whose immigration status in the United States is irregular, given that most of them were brought to this country illegally by their parents when they were children.

According to SAIYM's Claudia Sanchez, who attends the University of Texas at San Antonio, the undocumented immigrants who are currently pursuing university studies have lived the majority of their lives in the United States and have their family in this country.

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"They consider themselves to be U.S. citizens and they deserve the opportunity to give back to this country the many things they've been given and contribute to the economy, and to continue contributing to their community as they're currently doing," Sanchez said.

"Many of them have shown that they have goals, that they want to carry out many projects and because of the fact that they do not have their documents in order their dreams have been halted," added the student, who two years ago participated in a 39-day hunger strike.

One of the aims of SAIYM is to convince lawmakers of the importance of the DREAM Act, the initiative that would allow students who entered the country as children to legalize their status.

Although Texas since 2005 has permitted undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public universities, Sanchez believes that in this election year the rhetoric attacking this and other benefits will intensify.

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"Besides, on the national level, the candidate leading in the Republican primaries, Mitt Romney, has already said that he's not going to support the DREAM Act," Sanchez said.

"We're not going to allow them to attack the Latino community or young people. Despite the fact that many Hispanics cannot vote, they can denounce the politicians who're contending for a public post so that there are reactions," she added.

William Wise, a student and also a SAIYM leader, said it is irresponsible not to demand a rapid solution to the situation of the thousands of university students who have graduated or will graduate in the coming months and will not be able to pursue their professions because of their immigration status.

"Therefore, it's important for undocumented people to be those who start to complain, who stand up, so that the public knows what is happening in the country, so they don't discriminate and take the initiative to seek methods that help the students," Wise said.

SAIYM and five other organizations have formed the Texas Dream Alliance, which gathers institutions that are fighting for the rights of undocumented students.

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