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Immigrant Youth Achievement Award

This year's Immigrant Youth Achievement Award winner is...
Astrid Silva from Las Vegas!

Astrid Silva was born in Durango, Mexico. At the age of four, Astrid immigrated to the United States with her mother. Her father was already in the states with stable employment. When she was five, her family made the move to Nevada, where she has since resided. In 2006, she graduated from the Magnet program at Advanced Technologies Academy and in 2011 received her Associate of the Arts from the College of Southern Nevada.

In 2009, Astrid began getting more deeply involved in the politics surrounding the DREAM Act after a chance encounter with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. She formed a pen pal relationship with the Senator, writing him handwritten notes about her life. Sharing her stories gave him a unique insight into the life of a DREAMer. His friendship with Astrid has been a crucial mo­tivator and source of inspiration for Senator Reid’s policies on immigration.

From that moment on, she became the unlikely poster child for the DREAM Act in Nevada, where she was one of only a handful of students in the state to reveal her identity and status in the United States. In 2011, Astrid and a small group of dedicated DREAMers and allies formed DREAM Big Vegas, an organi­zation that aims to educate the community about the DREAM Act. After Deferred Action was announced, DREAM Big Vegas helped organize workshops and help for DREAMers who were unable to obtain information through other sources.

Currently, Astrid has made her dream of helping others a reality by working at the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada— the same place she volunteered at as an undocumented student. Astrid continues to raise her voice and empower others so that together they can achieve the goal of keeping families together.

Thank you to all who applied. We are inspired by all the young immigrants across the United States who are doing such fabulous work.

The American Immigration Council’s Immigrant Youth Achievement Award program receives nominations from around the country each year and assembles a panel of judges who select one individual whose personal and professional accomplishments exemplify the positive contributions young immigrants make to our nation each and every day.

By celebrating high-achieving young immigrants, and lifting up their many accomplishments and contributions, we are able to combat negative stereotypes that are sometimes attached to young immigrants in America.

The Immigrant Youth Achievement Award is presented at our annual spring Washington, DC Immigrant Achievement Awards (DCIAA) attended by 250-300 immigration attorneys, Capitol Hill staff, Members of Congress and immigration advocates.  Past honorees have emigrated from Ireland, India, Cambodia, China, and Cuba, and were recognized for their significant achievements in literature, journalism; music and politics.

The popularity of this award has grown significantly over the past few years with over 200 nominations submitted in 2012. We expect an increasing number of applications this year as thousands of young immigrants come forward through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative currently be implemented by the Department of Homeland Security. 

Eligibility:

  • The honoree must be between the ages of 14 and 25 years of age on April 11, 2014;
  • The honoree must be an immigrant to the United States, including those who have become naturalized citizens; 
  • The accomplishments of the honoree must reflect more than personal success and should have evidence of a commitment to making a positive impact in their community or the world around them;
  • The honoree must be willing and available to travel (at the American Immigration Council’s expense) to Washington, DC for the awards ceremony on Thursday, April 10, 2014. The American Immigration Council will cover the costs of travel and accommodations for the honoree, and for a parent or guardian if the honoree is a minor.
The honoree will receive a $1,000 award.