Juntos Youth Leaders meet with SMARTDC Youth Leaders in Nation’s Capital

Juntos Youth Leaders meet with SMARTDC Youth Leaders in Nation’s Capital


On October 24th Juntos Youth leaders from our leadership group, Fuerza, made their way down to Washington D.C with the mission to meet and learn from other young leaders doing similar work for their education and their rights as immigrants. Their search lead them to meet with SMART DC, a youth group of Many Languages One Voice. During this 2 day exchange we learned of all the amazing work youth leaders in D.C are doing around language access and education equity in their city and learned that the fight for public education is a shared struggled that our cities have. We also met with Son Cosita Seria, a local Son Jarocho group that focuses on bridging the gap between traditional folk music from Mexico and social justice work. After 2 days of laughing, sharing and learning, Juntos youth leaders are excited to put the new skills they learned into their local work here in Philadelphia.

How can YOU help pass the Pennsylvania DREAM Act

We need YOUR help to pass the Pennsylvania DREAM Act. We urge you to contact your local state representatives and pressure them to vote yes on Senate Bill 713 when it is presented in front of them.
Below we have provided a tool you can use to look up your local elected official.
Please also sign the petition below to ensure that your elected officials get an email urging them to pass this important piece of legislation

On March 16 Senator Lloyd Smucker (R) from Lancaster PA Introduced the Pennsylvania DREAM Act into the Senate. Juntos DREAMers, along with other youth in the state and the Pennsylvania Immigrant and Citizenship Coalition (PICC)  sat down and met with the senator prior to the bill being introduced to draft the initial language of the bill and ensure that this bill is for and by the community that will be most affected.
Now that the bill has been introduced it is up to us, the people, to pressure our elected officials into making sure that this important piece of legislation passes.

Untitled drawing (1) Please click HERE to sign our Petition

The Pennsylvania DREAM Act will provide the opportunity for undocumented young adults who have graduated from a high school in Pennsylvania, or have a GED certificate , to pay in-state tuition rates at public institutions of higher learning in Pennsylvania. Most of the time undocumented students applying to college get charged international or out-of state tuition rates, which are 3-4 times more expensive than the regular in-state tuition they would get charged if they were documented. These are young adults that have grown up in Pennsylvania and they and their families have been contributing to the economy of the state. In 2010 families with undocumented heads of households paid approximately $135 million in state and local taxes. Passing the PA DREAM Act would increase the potential for those benefiting from it  to increase their potential to contribute back to the state even more by becoming college educated productive tax payers.

This bill is not only beneficial to undocumented young adults but also to the whole of Pennsylvania. Allowing more students to access a college education, who would otherwise not be able to afford it, will increase the number of students enrolling into public institutions of higher learning and therefore increase college revenues. State DREAM Acts have passed already in 13 other states and they have provided huge economic benefits to public institutions.

We in Juntos see that denying students to ability to pay in-state tuition is unjust and as against the values of equality that this country was founded upon. We see education as a human right and therefore the access to education as well.

Please use the search box below to look up the contact info of your local state representatives and tell them to pass this important piece of legislation.


Locate your Senators and Representative

ex: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC 20500

Juntos is hiring for 2 positions!

We at Juntos have some exciting news! We have new openings on the Juntos team for two new organizer positions!
As you may know already, we have grown a lot in the past year and have also accomplished many victories for our community, So we are super excited for the prospect of growing even more and accomplishing even more victories for the latino-immigrant community.
Please see below for more details:

These are two new position available in the organization:


  • We are also hiring for a Part-Time Education Organizer at 15 hours a week with some evenings and weekends and this person will be working with parents, mostly mothers, on local education campaigns.
    Please Click Here for PDF of Full Job Description


These applications are due Monday, April 1st at 5pm. We are hoping to hire by mid April.
Please submit resumes along with cover letter to Erika@vamosjuntos.org


Education is a Human Right, therefore College Access is a Human Right!

Please read Juntos’ response below to this Op-Ed article in The Philadelphia Inquirer last week:

My name is Miguel Andrade and I am the Youth Organizer from Juntos in South Philadelphia and I’m also representing a network of community-led organizations and allies that are in Support of the PA Dream Act.

I am currently 21 years old and came to the United States when I was five. For the past 15 of my 16 years of growing up here I was undocumented. I know firsthand what it means to find out that you are “undocumented” and the effect that that has on a young person’s development. Like many youth I found out I was different than the rest of my classmates when I was in High School. I had been selected to be part of program that would have allowed me to study abroad for the summer. I was super excited and couldn’t wait to tell my parents. Once I did though, I was told by my mother that I couldn’t do it. See they were asking for a 9 digit number in the application. The lack of me having a social security number denied me the opportunity to take part of a once in a lifetime experience.

This had a tremendous impact on my freshman year experience. After that moment I told myself, “What’s the point? Why am I going to work so hard if I can’t even do anything with that diploma?” You see it wasn’t just that I couldn’t go study abroad for that summer; I also wouldn’t have been able to get a license when the time came along with my friends. I couldn’t get a state issued ID either. And if I had graduated, all I would have gotten was a pretty diploma that to me said I had wasted 4 years of my life in high school and I wouldn’t even be able to go even get a job let alone go to college.

That’s how I was forced to become another statistic. Another number in the growing list of young people dropping out of school. In the city of Philadelphia alone that percentage of youth that drop out of school is close to 50% and many of these youth have dropped out for the same reasons that I have stated above. We cannot allow the future of our state to fall prey to the school to prison/deportation pipeline. We need to create avenues that engage our immigrant youth population as well as all youth in the state of PA to stay in the education system and have clear ways of allowing us to attend college. I’m lucky in the fact that I have my residency but that was almost impossible for me and my mother to attain, not everyone has that privilege due to the way that immigration laws are written in this country.

By allowing the passing of legislation such as the PA Dream Act it will open up the opportunity to many undocumented youth to just apply for in state tuition. By having this bill passed it will send the message to the thousands of youth who are on the cusp of dropping out or who have just dropped out due to being undocumented that they have a chance to continue their education and to even re-engage in their education. An equal opportunity to apply and to pay the same tuition cost that anybody else that is a resident Pennsylvania would pay shouldn’t be denied to anybody regardless of immigration status.

Now I always believe that I can’t present my side of a debate with just emotion alone so here are some facts and some truths I want to debunk.

The PA Dream Act will pay for college tuitions for illegal immigrants:

First let’s stop using the word Illegal, our communities are not illegal. We strongly believe that no human being is illegal therefore from here on out I encourage all who read this to use Undocumented, which is an actual representation of the immigration status of our communities. Second, the PA Dream Act, along with any Dream Act that has or may be passed at the state level are in no way shape or form about paying for any students’ tuition costs. The truth about these bills is that they are solely about having the in state tuition fees available for students who qualify for them. The parameters in which this is determined are by the amount of time somebody has been living in and contributing into the state, in this case Pennsylvania. Making somebody who calls PA their home and has been living and contributing back to the state have to pay Out of State goes against the values of equality that this country was founded upon, the phrase “all men are created equal” comes to mind.

What about the youth who already are here? Why do THEY get to have privileges that we don’t?

Nobody is talking about getting more than what others have. The basis of the State Dream Act versions have nothing to do with putting immigrants in front of the line, but to actually be given to opportunity to get in line. Let’s be realistic, a College Education is expensive whether you are documented or not. It is against the rights we all have as human beings to be denied an education, and by denying people the ability to pay the lower cost just like anybody else that lives in the commonwealth you are denying their human right to an education

This is going to be a burden on the state!

Actually this is going to bring increased revenue to our already troubled state. First by widening the pool of people who can pay in state tuition you are going to have more people paying money into state run institutions, therefore more money going back into the state. Second, it has been proven time and time again that college graduates have a higher income. A more skilled and educated work force is a plus for the state, more people working means more people paying into taxes and strengthening the state’s economy. It’s a win-win situation.

So I urge anybody that wants to be a part of this debate to have the full picture. Let’s not go around on newspapers or radio programs saying half-truths. Fact is that by allowing all students who live and contribute already in the state of Pennsylvania will benefit the commonwealth in the long run. What we are asking for is for equal treatment. Equality the basis on which this country, our country was founded on.