Expand Education Access to Undocumented Students

Bumped - Todd

From Brave New Foundation, cross-posted from Alternet.

This year, the presidential election will not hinge on the emotionally divisive issue of immigration.

That's good news for everyone who believes that a moral society takes care of its most vulnerable members, forcing no one into the shadows. If the nativist wing of the Republican Party had seen its electoral goals realized, we would have witnessed a Republican primary dominated by a tragic debate about how best to expel the 12 million undocumented immigrants living in America, whether by deporting as many as possible, or by making legal conditions so inhospitable that they leave of their own volition. That debate would have trickled out into the general election, with Republican strategists trying to 'wedge' independent and Democratic-leaning voters with toxic appeals to national chauvinism and racial prejudice masquerading as distinctions of legitimate policy differences. Like the debate over what kinds of prisoner interrogation techniques legally constitute torture, these are the kinds of public discussions we engage in at the cost of our collective soul.

Thankfully, Tom Tancredo never managed to get his first foot off the ground, Giuliani led in early national polls in spite of his well-known history of supporting immigrant rights, and a border state Senator who is famously moderate on the issue (however much he tries to run away from that reputation) will be his party's nominee. The news is not entirely sanguine, however. The momentary absence of anti-immigrant invective in the mainstream does not mean that bigotry does not persist at the margins, leaning ever inward. And taking the spotlight off of immigrants, while affording them some room to breathe, further delays the political moment for meaningful immigration reform.

With groups like FAIR and the Minutemen consigned, for now, back to the political fringe where they belong, and with Latino voters set to play a pivotal role in the fates of the presidential nominees of both parties come November, now is the opportune time to put immigration back into the public debate -- on pro-immigrant terms.

Pending and not-yet-pending legislation affords opportunities to achieve material victories for hard-working immigrant families, as well as to reclaim the lost sense of the cultural and economic importance of immigrants in America. In New Jersey, passage of the In-State Tuition Bill would expand education access for children who have spent almost their entire lives in the U.S. but have not yet been granted citizenship, giving immigrant kids a real chance at life while also fostering a more educated workforce for the state's economy. A similar bill may reach the state legislature in California as well this year. And with a Democrat in the White House and a Democratic majority in Congress, immigrant families could make their greatest gain through a reintroduction of the federal DREAM Act in 2009, which would provide a path to citizenship for those who graduate college.

These are children who go to school with our kids, who are on their swim teams, in their AP English classes, on their student government councils, in their choir practices and drama clubs.  These are college-bound children who are among the most engaged, active, and motivated students in American high schools - the students who have the most to contribute to the long-term strength of our national economy.  Yet unlike their peers, they are faced with the additional barrier of excessive college tuition fees for being "out-of-state" students, despite having spent nearly their whole lives in their states of residence and graduating from those states' public school systems.

By fixing public attention on the daily struggles of families to improve their futures by securing a quality education for their children -- as familiar an experience to the native-born as to the foreign-born -- advocating for these critically important bills will help put the national debate on immigration back into its proper form: as a discussion about working families. Not criminals, not deviants, not foreign nationalists -- simply families struggling to achieve a common American Dream.

Brave New Foundation hopes to help provoke that discussion by launching a major campaign on the struggles and aspirations of immigrant families in America, beginning with this video. We will continue that discussion on these pages, with future videos throughout the year. Read more at A Dream Deferred.

Tags: brave new films, Brave New Foundation, dream act, Education, immigration (all tags)

Comments

20 Comments

Stateless people are a common victim..

There are many children here in the US who may have been born here but they have an undocumented parent or parents. The GOP is trying to strip them of their citizenships, in violation of the Constitution.

The Democrats should come out STRONGLY against ANY legislation that attempts to legislate further marginalization of those who are already living on the edge.

Things like the TANF "family cap" that result in poor children being abandoned or killed, that imply that society blame THEM for the deeds of their parents, should also be repealed.

Laws that strip anyone of their citizenship are reminiscent of the conditions that led up to World War II and should not be tolerated. Everybody has a default citizenship, that of the country they were born in. Everybody has two default parents, their biological parents.

No child is "illegitimate".

by architek 2008-03-30 08:41AM | 0 recs
I read a story last year about a young math genius

who had done graduate level work at age 15, who was applying to colleges, and had actually been accepted to Princeton, I think, on an academic scholarship.. but then, it came up that he was not here legally.. he just slunk into the shadows and I think he was eventually deported..

HOW STUPID WE ARE...

by architek 2008-03-30 08:45AM | 0 recs
Illegal aliens are "stateless"?

architek:

Almost all illegal aliens are citizens of some other country, most of them being citizens of Mexico. I shouldn't have to add, but I guess I do, that it fits the MexicanGovernment's agenda to send as many people as possible to the U.S. They're more valuable to them here and and they're also less likely to press for reforms in Mexico that way. And, useful idiots in the U.S. are more than willing to help Mexico with its goals.

As for stripping people of citizenship, can you provide a citation? I know a few years ago David Neiwert falsely implied that a bill would do that, but other than that I haven't heard anyone else claim that. So, I'd like to see you provide proof of your statements.

As for the post, those here might want to check out the chilly reception it received here:

alternet.org/rights/80643/

by TheLonewackoBlog 2008-03-30 11:34AM | 0 recs
It on Thomas..

They also want DNA tests to prove that people immigrating who have birth certificates saying they are relatives/children of American citizens are actually related to them. If you search on DNA testing, you will find it.

by architek 2008-03-31 06:13AM | 0 recs
They also want to remove the automatic citizenship

for children who are born here.. Thats what I mean by making people stateless. Because it would.

by architek 2008-03-31 06:14AM | 0 recs
Basically, they want citizenship to be hereditary

Some people, like the 30-40% of so of us (not here, but US born people in general) who are children of unmarried mothers, would them have a harder time becoming citizens.. But who would we be citizens of? Some country that we may never have been to, ever? No.

If we tried to travel, we would get stuck in the airport, forever.

by architek 2008-03-31 06:16AM | 0 recs
They are getting ready for global warming..

That is the real reason.. Studies have shown huge climate changes and mass migrations..

They assume people in the tropics would want to come here, but what about the people in Florida, etc? Where will they go if 50% of their state gradually goes underwater?

by architek 2008-03-31 06:18AM | 0 recs
they want citizenship to be hereditary

Thank you for explaining another view of this. I know they are 'debating' that children born here are the citizenship of their parents rather than 'automatic' citizens of the country to which they were born. Many people are in favor of this and many countries have already instituted that. I do know a few people who were born of American citizens in Mexico and they become 'dual citizens', but I had not thought about how one born here gets citizenship in Mexico if they have never been to Mexico and have no record of birth there. (not just Mexico- but all countries where non-immigrant citizens give birth to children here).

by Justwords 2008-03-31 08:31AM | 0 recs
Excellent diary, thanks so much

thank you very much for the great diary. i sincerely hope we see more discussion of this topic. this is a very important point:

"The momentary absence of anti-immigrant invective in the mainstream does not mean that bigotry does not persist at the margins, leaning ever inward."

yes, it is not enough to just stay silent and win the election without addressing the bigotry. because even if we win, the hate created by the anti-s will remain in people's hearts. this is VERY bad for our nation. so we need our candidates to directly address the issue of the rising nativism that is infecting our country.

so i think you are exacly right, now is the time to push back against the anti-immigrant extremists. their worst enemy inside their own party, McCain, has won the ReThug nomination, and they have chased away Hispanic voters by the millions.

so maybe this election is about illegal immigration, and what we can do to defeat the nativist forces in our own country?

by catchaz 2008-03-30 12:26PM | 0 recs
The GOP LOVES illegal immigration..

because it drives salaries down and destroys unions..

OTOH, they love to pretend they dont, because they spin it to make it look like they care about falling salaries..

A SMART Democratic candidate would figure out a way to point this difference out graphically to people...

The real issue is declining salaries. Thats a hard nut to crack because salaries ARE driven by supply and demand. If you read my diary from yesterday I talked about how TECHNOLOGY is the BIGGEST factor behind that - Declining salaries may be impossible to stop. The way to make that livable is to make a lot of things free or very cheap and to - I hate to say it, hold the line on immigration somehow because otherwise, as jobs dissapear everywhere, yes, more and more people WILL need to go somwehere, because they will be starving.

Eventually, we will have to figure out new ways to incentivize people.. such as paying them to do volunteer-like work.. on a massive scale, shorten the work week to 30 or 20 hours.. push up retirement ages to 50 or so.. (people start losing brain cells at 35 which means they wont be able to keep up, the remaining jobs will be VERY complicated..and technical, and demanding)

by architek 2008-03-31 06:26AM | 0 recs
I meant to say, 'stop illegal immigration'

At the same time, we need to try to help the countries people are immigrating from.

Some countries may be underwater in 50 years.. low lying countries like Bangladesh especially.. lots of the most fertile soil will be covered up by the oceans..

Perhaps we could fund projects to preserve farmland in other parts of the world.. But we should worry about the US first..

Especially places like the Central Valley in CA!

Its been part of the sea before.. This could happen again!

by architek 2008-03-31 06:30AM | 0 recs
Your last paragraph is

intriguing - I've felt the same for sometime now.  But how do we get people to live more simply and think they need less stuff?

A simple question:  Will our own children suffer financially if we offer university monies to undocumented people.  I want to give everyone a home, a garden, an education, heaven - truly I do.  But why is it the white working class always gets it in the neck as to property taxes, huge school loans.  I know this isn't a popular stance on liberal blogs.  Plus there are so many byzantine loops in public state universities, many of my friends' kids had to go out of state incurring more debt.        

by Xanthe 2008-03-31 08:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Expand Education Access to Undocumented Studen

We need to get control of the borders first .

The federal goverment must get control of the borders and stop the inflow of illegal immigration before any path to citizenship is granted in my view.

Border security should be first and foremost.

by lori 2008-03-30 08:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Expand Education Access to Undocumented Studen

Why should people against illegal immigration & illegal immigrants be labelled as bigots or racist?

Many a times a person who is legally trying to get a Green Card has to go to the back of the line, because of amnesty etc given to illegal immigrants.

For someone who is trying to get a Green Card legally, seeing that someone got it due to amnesty is very disheartening.

by gaf 2008-03-30 09:12PM | 0 recs
Anyone notice

That this "post" magically appears on every single blog at the same time?

It's obviously some special interest agenda and it makes the bloggers look quite suspicious for presenting something as paid.

I'll get once again they are going to try to pass the Dream act and here comes the media campaign.

I for one would appreciate bloggers to come clean on precisely who they are blogging for.

by Robert Oak 2008-03-30 10:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Anyone notice

It says it clearly at the top of the post: I work for Brave New Foundation.

by Woodhouse 2008-03-31 09:58AM | 0 recs
Yeah, this was "front paged" after

it got very little attention as a regular diary.  It's definitely on someone's agenda here at mydd.

In any event, unless one is paying the state income and property taxes that are going to pay for our state public colleges, why should you get in-state tuition?

by bigdcdem 2008-03-31 03:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Expand Education Access to Undocumented Studen
Because at the very least the support businesses and service to a local economy...
I am a Substitute Teacher in Denver...
There are quality students in the top 10% of their graduating class. It is a benefit to our State to have them continue their education.
by nogo war 2008-03-31 05:50AM | 0 recs
I hope you are right
I hope you are right because this is a hateful and divisive issue that creates undo prejudice on legal citizens and legal immigrants. The last 'debate' on immigration had radical hate groups and radio commentators wanting people to go down to the Mexican border and shoot on site. We need to give up the fence BS- it isn't keeping people from coming here legally on Visa's from all over the world and become 'illegal' by overstaying their visa's.
I don't think you are right because we just got new laws that police can stop people in their cars for no violation but if they suspect they are 'illegals'. Mostly they will go after Mexicans who have done nothing wrong but look Mexican. It's creating bigotry and racism for no other reason than to 'check your papers'. Just another violation of civil liberties to a race of people.
by Justwords 2008-03-31 08:04AM | 0 recs
Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna)

Don't miss Under the Same Moon La Misma Luna <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0796307&gt;, about a bright and kind young boy who makes his way alone from Mexico, to find his mother, working in California.

Both are "illegal," "without papers" -- and both are the kind of smart, hard-working people we would hope to know as colleagues, friends and neighbors.

by MS 2008-03-31 03:25PM | 0 recs

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