The DREAM Act; Undocumented Immigrant Students want to make their Dream of higher education into Reality

After reading many different articles about the struggles of higher education for undocumented immigrants, it made me wonder why we are punishing the students who have worked hard, got good grades, and have dreams for a better future. Why should … Continue reading

The Dream Act right now!

A few years ago I met a young teen named Luisa. Luisa, one of the many teens that helped with summer camps, had a knack for working with kids. With each passing year, Luisa flourished more and more.  On her last year as a counselor, as we sat overlooking a wetlands, I asked her what her plans were for after High School. She looked at me than looked down at her hands and sighed. Like so many undocumented teens that were brought here at a very young age, Luisa saw a dead end. To Luisa, her dream was blocked.

I begin with a personal story because I wanted you all to understand the magnitude of what so many young teens in our education system have had to face.images

Throughout these past few weeks, we have discussed the evils of assessments, the pros and cons of charter schools and the opportunity gaps abound in our schools. We as educators have worked with students to ensure that they have a future beyond schools, yet they are faced with barriers that are far beyond our control.  For so many undocumented young adults, that path is blocked.

The Dream Act, (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) would be a pathway to higher education, military service and the potential for permanent residency for those whom do not have legal status in the US. While stalled on the Federal level, many states have pushed to enact versions of the Dream Act themselves, helping to break down the walls that block the passage to higher education. One aspect of this has been providing an equitably pathway to higher education by enabling undocumented students to pay in-state tuition.

Thanks to the passage of House Bill 2787, this fall (2013) Luisa began her first term as a Portland State University Viking.  But this isn’t enough.

As tuition continues to rise, how can we ensure tuition equity for all people? National student lead activist groups like Students for a Democratic Society have launched a national push demanding education rights for undocumented immigrant students. With chapters at Pacific University and Lewis and Clack College, it’s time to take action on our own campus as education rights for all is part of a larger piece to the immigration puzzle.

http://www.newsds.org/2014/1/27/sds-launches-national-push-tuition-equity

https://www.facebook.com/educationforallcampaign

Inching closer to the goal of tuition equity for undocumented immigrants, a new program was launched. Known as The Dream.US, Elise Foley of the Huffington Post writes, “The new program, called TheDream.US, will allow many to attend college when they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it. The effort from TheDream.US will provide scholarships for a variety of schools, including private ones, that have work-related programs and good support systems to help Dreamers stay in” (Foley, 2014). With the Dream.US, this has become a reality for so many undocumented young people who hope to attend college.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/04/dreamers-scholarship_n_4723171.html

Here is more info on theDream.US:

http://thedream.us/

I urge you, if you want to continue to have faith in humanity, do not read the comments. This is a contentious topic that always brings in toxic racial epithets.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patricia-mcguire/giving-dreamers-a-chance_b_4756220.html

And if you as fired up as I am, check out the above Facebook link to get involved with SDS (Students for a Democratic Society).

For more information about tuition equity and how to navigate that path check out the link below:

http://www.apano.org/campaigns/past-campaigns/tuition-equity/

We Make More of a Difference Than We Know….One Person at a Time (by Guest Blogger Alexis Roeser)

Note:  As a reminder to PDXEAN readers, the current series of posts are written by students in Portland State University’s Enhancing Youth Literacy Capstone.  Students are spending 25-30 hours volunteering their time with youth in the community, and we also … Continue reading

The DREAM Act: Is It Only a Dream? (by Guest Blogger Krista Nuro, Spring 2013)

After watching the short online “Teen DREAM Art Documentary”, I became further at a loss for why we continue to punish well-achieving students and take away their dreams of a higher education. This film touches upon the barriers that many … Continue reading

Do We Recognize Our Privilege? Another Look at the DREAM Act (by Guest Blogger Oscar Ramirez)

I was able to watch a short documentary on the DREAM act and see the situations that Alejandra, the undocumented student in the documentary, had to go through and continues to struggle with because of her legal status. This film hit me personally as a Latino in the United States. And I personally know people that have had and have the same obstacles as Alejandra. I consider myself very fortunate because I have been presented with all the opportunities and rights this country has to offer because I was born here in the US. However, for millions of people that should have the equal treatment as human beings, they cannot live a life without fear of deportation and being separated from their families.

This film I think is very insightful into the world of the “DREAMers” and how this act will bring so many positive things to the lives for these students. I am a first generation college student in my family and even with all the rights I from this country it was difficult for me to know how to get into college and let alone pay for it. Simple things such as being able to work legally to make a little money during school, or having a license to be able to drive, or being able to open a bank account have helped me tremendously during my education. These simple things perhaps are taken for granted by most citizens and these simple things are items that undocumented students could possibly never have in their life if something is not done to help them. Thinking about our own lives and placing ourselves in the shoes of an undocumented, would it be possible for you to function in the US if you could not have these simple privileges?

Oregon Passes Tuition Equity Bill (by Guest Blogger Kristin Saito)

Oregon House of Representatives passed House Bill 2787, 38 – 18, on Friday, which would grant in-state tuition for undocumented student’s who have attended school in the country for at least five years, studied at an Oregon high school for at least three years and graduated, and show intention to become a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. To show intent, a copy of the student’s application for the federal deferred action program, the DREAM Act, or a statement of intent that the student will seek citizenship as permitted under federal law would be required. Students will also be required to apply for a federal individual taxpayer identification number or a similar federal identification number. House Bill 2787 would also require an annual report from the Oregon University System detailing the number of students who applied and were accepted under the program, as well as their financial impact. The bill now goes to the Senate, which has approved similar bills in 2003 and 2011, with a promise from Governor John Kitzhaber to sign it. Supporters emphasized tuition equity as an economic and education issue that will help the state meet its education goals and allow talented children, raised in Oregon, to contribute to the state’s economy. An alternative version of the bill was proposed by House Republican’s that would have let the bill expire in 2016, limited tuition equity to undocumented immigrants who are in the U.S. by July 1st, and stricter guidelines on how students would demonstrate they intend to be lawful citizens. According to a fiscal impact statement on the bill, if the program becomes law, approximately 38 students are expected to utilize the program from 2013 – 2015, with another 80 students expected to benefit the following two years. The statement also says these students could contribute $1.9 million to the state in in-state tuition payments over the next four years (http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/02/oregon_house_passes_tuition_eq_1.html).

$1.9 million to the state in tuition appears beneficial; however, I would like to know how much this program will cost the state, if at all, and what the actual amount of income would be after subtracting these costs. Do you see House Bill 2787 as an economic and educational benefit to Oregon, one that will help the state meet its educational goals and benefit the state’s economy?

I do not see a problem with the proposal of having stricter guidelines on how students demonstrate they intend to become a lawful citizen, a simple letter of intent does not seem adequate enough when trying to show intent. What do you think? Do you believe that the guidelines for the bill were appropriate or do you think that there should be stricter guidelines than those passed in the bill?

 

Questioning the DREAM Act (by Guest Blogger Lisa Quijano)

After listening to the Think Out Loud broadcast and watching the Teen DREAM Act Documentary, I don’t understand why immigration and education are together.  Don’t get me wrong, I sympathized with the position those students were in, but I don’t think I can support it.  The reason I say that is because it is mandatory for children to receive K-12 education regardless, the U.S. is required to give children an education regardless of origin.  The/A path to citizenship should be a separate issue than attending college. 

I agree with those who say that attaining a college degree is a choice.  Undocumented/illegal high school graduates should be given a path to citizenship.  Once they attain citizenship is when they can apply for a college education.  If we “don’t want to punish children”, once they successfully finish high school, and can prove they are law abiding, give them an opportunity so they can then become citizens.  I think for the DREAM Act or any legislation to move forward to allow in state tuition for non residents should also include language to address any U.S. citizen’s rights to pay in state tuition regardless of what state they were born in.  Any U.S. born citizen should have the ability to attend any U.S. college campus and be given in state tuition if legislation is going to be passed in that state.  I am a U.S. citizen.  I have lived here my whole life.  To get in state tuition, I have to live in that state for a specified time before I can qualify to receive in state tuition rates.  Only after I completed this requirement I was then considered a resident and could qualify.  The DREAM Act or any other legislation allowing undocumented/illegal persons to receive in state tuition without also giving that same allowance to any U.S. citizen is unfair for students wishing to attend college, but don’t have the means to do so.

To me, the real issue is trying to find a way to give citizenship to children whose parents are in the U.S. illegally.  Do you think immigration and education should be tied together?  How far should government extend the childhood arrivals to (age limits)?  It seems like until age 30 is very lenient, basically saying if you were a child arriving here from 1983 you can apply for this waiver “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”, “Under the new policy, people 30 and younger who arrived in the United States before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military, can get a two-year deferral from deportation and apply for work permits”.  http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/15/us/immigration-deferred-deportation/index.html .  Thinking ahead, if citizenship was granted, wouldn’t student’s citizenship then create a loophole that they could then petition for their relatives to become citizens as well?

 

Other links

http://www.leg.state.or.us/13reg/measpdf/hb2700.dir/hb2787.intro.pdf

Just a note, in this legislation, there is no mention of U.S. citizens getting the same in state allowance as undocumented/illegal persons.

 

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/11/providing-in-state-tuition-for-illegal-aliens-a-violation-of-federal-law

Who Deserves Education? Tuition Equity, the DREAM Act, and the Essence of an American (by Guest Blogger Ashley Friedman)

What is an American made of? Are they hard workers? Do they dream the American dream? Is “American” just a legal definition, or does it have some sort of deeper meaning? Further, how does one become American? Can you just … Continue reading