Undocumented Students – Support Groups and Coalitions

Today, the Sacramento Bee ran an article on the solidarity and support network amongst undocumented students at University of California Davis. The comments on the article quickly turned into one over illegal immigration rather than focusing on the trials and tribulations that many students at UCD had undergone and how the groups they built provided strength, solidarity and support.

One of the criticisms that I have against the article is the focus on the Latino groups of undocumented students. Given that most undocumented students are from Latin America, and yet, where do the non-Latino students on campus go to? When trying to spread awareness about the Dream Act and our unprecedented plight as undocumented students, attention must be paid to be inclusive and rid people of the mindset that this is just an issue of concern to Latinos.

Another sore point is the lack of use of the Internet as a medium for organizing the DREAM Act movement. Previously, I have also heard networking and coalition-building between several other student groups in the Bay Area. Given the need for anonymity and discretion, one would think that the Internet would be the medium of choice for us to communicate and build advocacy efforts. So why is it that I am not seeing student members from these groups posting online at sites like DAP and sharing their stories and experiences? There’s an untapped potential here for so many lost narratives and resources, drawing together students from completely diverse backgrounds to share their untold stories and experiences, build coalitions and support networks.

BNF is just the start. I am also working on something with some friends. More details to be unveiled in due time.

PL gives $50000 to establish scholarship fund for undocumented

Wealthy entrepeneur has given $50000 to support the Dream of students who are victims of circumstances beyond their control.

Opinion

DREAM Act should become a reality for kids

http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/202264

Our view: Illegal-immigrant students should not pay for parents’ transgressions

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.21.2007

Congress may soon have the opportunity to stop the systematic punishment of illegal-immigrant children for the sins of their parents.

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., is planning to reintroduce the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act as an amendment to a Pentagon spending bill that is being debated in Congress this week.

The DREAM Act, which was part of the comprehensive immigration-reform bill that failed this summer, would give the children of illegal immigrants a path toward citizenship if they attend college for at least two years or serve honorably in the military for at least two years.

The measure would be good for the United States, as it would boost student ranks in states like Arizona, where young illegal immigrants who want to attend college often cannot afford to because of state laws. The act would also encourage young illegal immigrants to pursue higher education or careers in the military.

The measure would be especially significant in Arizona because state voters last year approved Proposition 300, which requires illegal-immigrant students to pay out-of-state tuition rather than the more affordable in-state rate.

University tuition for students classified as in-state residents costs roughly $5,000 a year, while out-of-state tuition is more than three times higher at about $16,000 per year.

As we have stated on these pages previously, Proposition 300 created a mean-spirited law that unfairly punishes young adults who entered the country illegally but involuntarily.

The United States is a nation of laws, but children should not be punished for the actions of their parents.

Many illegal-immigrant students who are of college age came to this country as toddlers or grade-schoolers. The United States is the only country they know. For them, Mexico, to give one example, would be the foreign country, even though they might be Mexican citizens.

Proposition 300 viciously makes it harder for these students to become well-educated, taxpaying adults.

Some individuals and groups have stepped up to help illegal-immigrant students pursue college degrees.

Arizona State University President Michael Crow, for one, has earmarked funds from private donors to help about 200 illegal-immigrant students meet the higher tuition costs, the Arizona Republic reported.

However, state Treasurer Dean Martin, who as a legislator was the main proponent of Proposition 300, is asking for the Board of Regents to investigate whether Crow is following state law in assisting the students.

University of Arizona spokesman Johnny Cruz said six students affected by Proposition 300 are receiving more aid so that they can remain in school. UA President Robert Shelton said the money is coming from private donations.

Meanwhile, Tucson businessman Paul Lindsey has donated $50,000 to establish a scholarship fund that will help illegal-immigrant students attend Pima Community College.

A full, 15-credit-hour course load at Pima College costs about $700 for in-state students and about $3,500 for out-of-state students.

We applaud the efforts to help illegal-immigrant students who might otherwise not be able to earn college degrees and we are hopeful those private efforts expand.

However, Proposition 300 could be effectively negated if the DREAM Act is approved by Congress. We encourage Arizona’s senators and representatives to support Sen. Durbin’s amendment.

The United Negro College Fund has a slogan, “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.” That slogan should apply to young people of all races.