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Undocumented and fighting for immigration reform

Ellen Abbott

Local immigration reform advocates are pushing for comprehensive immigration reform. One of the loudest voices comes from a man who is in this country illegally.

Aly Wane was born in Senegal in 1976 and, because of a family dispute, came to live in this country in 1984. He went on to high school and college, but because of his family situation he was never naturalized.

Wane says up to now, he has kept his undocumented status a secret but needs to bring it out in the open.

"This is not a militant act. This is simply an invitation to the community to have a conversation, a dialogue about immigration, based on the true facts about who undocumented people are instead of the dangerous stereotypes we've heard about illegals," said Wane.

Wane wants lawmakers to pass the DREAM Act, which would provide residency to illegal immigrants who arrived in this country as minors and have remained here for a certain amount of time, along with other conditions.

Comprehensive immigration reform, Wane says, is the best way to deal with the issue, but adds it's become toxic politically because it's been tied with terrorism.

Is he worried that making his status public puts him at risk of being deported?

"There could be a response, or there could not be a response. People have been coming out and doing this for the past year-and-a-half across the country, and some people have been apprehended and put in detention centers and ordered for deportation, but most of them physically have not been deported," said Wane.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.