California Dream Act, Victory for Undocumented Students

For years Immigration activist groups like dreamactivist.org have openly advocated a pathway for undocumented students to get into college affordably. The first victory started with AB 540 that gave in-state tuition to undocumented students. This step was huge considering out-of-state tuition in California was out of reach for most if not all undocumented students.

SOURCE:Håkan Dahlström

In the year 2010, there was a growing movement among young undocumented students in the social media world that spurred major support for the national Dream Act. Some of these groups are dedicated and determined to help in any way that they can like signing petitions to stop deportations. One of these groups is Dream Act 2010 which has over 94,000 members and is constantly updated on all things Dream Act.

One activist that has been involved for some time now is Luis Serrano who lives in California and has seen firsthand what it's like to live in a state where the immigration battle is constantly on the move. Serrano said that "Last August I did a sit in at the local L.A. ICE offices in order to protest s-comm (secure communities) a law/tool that gives local enforcement the right to view your immigration status. I presented myself in their office as undocumented, got held up, and eventually released. "

There are many other students like Luis who advocate for a different approach to immigration problems the nation currently faces.

One of the more recent victories for undocumented students will now allow them to receive Cal-grants starting in the year 2013. It also includes fee waivers to community colleges for low income students.

The California Dream act was signed the month of October 2011 and will help undocumented students get the help they need to attend college despite opposition. The Department of Finance predicts that this will cost about $59.1 million.

But regardless of victories like this across states like New Mexico, Texas and California there is still a bigger concern for passing the national version of the Dream Act. Luis says that "The California Dream Act is a great tool for immigrant students trying to pursuit higher learning; it will be great for the new generation. Furthermore, I believe that is a small fraction of what's going on and we need to look at the bigger picture."

Even with the states' legislators doing all they can, it won't be enough because even after they graduate, they will still be undocumented and so in most cases, if not all, they won't be able to apply for a job. That's why the national Dream Act is vital. It will create a pathway for citizenship and will give these students a chance that for now seems out of reach. Do you believe we should be helping these students?

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