Here in California, there has been a lot of news and commentary around the possible passage of the The California Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. It was featured on a recent NPR story:
Illegal immigrant students in that state’s colleges may soon be eligible for state-funded financial aid. A bill called the California Dream Act is working its way through the state legislature. It would allow students who attended at least three years at a California high school to apply for financial aid.
NPR’s Carrie Kahn has our report.
CARRIE KAHN: Sofia Campos came to California when she was six. Her parents brought her and her two younger siblings from Peru. Campos said she had no idea her family had overstayed their visas. She didn’t find out she was here illegally until she was ready to go to college.
Ms. SOFIA CAMPOS: When I was 17, I tried to apply for federal financial aid. So I asked my parents for the Social Security number, and that’s when they had to tell me that I didn’t have one. [link]
President Obama is on the record as supporting the DREAM act nationally and it was introduced (yet again) in the US Senate in May of this year.
This bill would provide conditional permanent residency to certain illegal and deportable alien students who graduate from US high schools, who are of good moral character, arrived in the U.S. legally or illegally as minors, and have been in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill’s enactment. If they were to complete two years in the military or two years at a four year institution of higher learning, the students would obtain temporary residency for a six year period. Within the six year period, a qualified student must have “acquired a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or [have] completed at least 2 years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor’s degree or higher degree in the United States,” or have “served in the armed services for at least 2 years and, if discharged, [have] received an honorable discharge.” Military enlistment contracts require an eight year commitment, with active duty commitments typically between four and six years, but as low as two years. “Any alien whose permanent resident status is terminated [according to the terms of the Act] shall return to the immigration status the alien had immediately prior to receiving conditional permanent resident status under this Act.” [Wikipedia].
But this might all be too late for Mandeep Chahal. Deportation day could be Tuesday. You might want to write a letter against this if you have a minute today:
Mandeep, a DREAM Act eligible student, and her mother face imminent deportation on Tuesday, June 21, 2011. Mandeep grew up in Mountain View, California and attended Santa Rita Elementary School and Egan Junior High School. She graduated from Los Altos High School in 2009 and is now an honors pre-med student at UC Davis.
Mandeep came to the United States in 1997 when she was six years old, and only discovered she was undocumented when she was 15.
If Mandeep and her mother are forced to leave, their family will be torn apart and Mandeep’s two U.S. Citizen siblings will be left without their mother. [link]
Kids shouldn’t pay for the “sins” of their parents. Especially if they work hard and have the potential of making our society better. Enough with the out of control “enforcement only” way of dealing with immigration.