The following is a copy of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by Benita Veliz, DREAM Act Activist at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, September 5, 2012.
My name is Benita Veliz, and I'm from San Antonio, Texas. Like so many Americans of all races and backgrounds, I was brought here as a child. I've been here ever since.
I graduated as valedictorian of my class at the age of 16 and earned a double major at the age of 20. I know I have something to contribute to my economy and my country. I feel just as American as any of my friends or neighbors.
But I've had to live almost my entire life knowing I could be deported just because of the way I came here.
President Obama fought for the DREAM Act to help people like me. And when Congress refused to pass it, he didn't give up. Instead, he took action so that people like me can apply to stay in our country and contribute. We will keep fighting for reform, but while we do, we are able to work, study and pursue the American dream.
President Obama has fought for my community. Now it's my honor to introduce one of the leaders in my community who is fighting for him. From her television show to her magazines to her radio network, she is truly an icon: ladies and gentlemen, Cristina Saralegui.