Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC
A sign outside a DREAM Act rally in Los Angeles last summer.
In recent weeks I've posted several stories and updates related to the DREAM Act, a bill that would allow a path to legal status for undocumented young people who attend college or enlist in the military. A House vote is expected soon, possibly later this week.
Part of the reason that the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which has been introduced and failed several times over the course of nearly a decade, is getting so much attention this time is because of unprecedented activism among the very undocumented students it would benefit.
During previous DREAM Act vote cycles, the bulk of these youths remained in the shadows. But since the bill was introduced again last year, a growing number of students who have been here illegally since they were children have been coming out publicly about their immigration status to make a statement in support of the bill, attaching their names and faces to it, and generating publicity. Some have risked arrest and deportation by participating in rallies and sit-ins; others have stuck their necks out as well-known student leaders.
Photo by stay sick/Flickr (Creative Commons)
Graffiti in Munich, Germany, Feb. 2008
Last month I wrote about the discussion provoked by a campaign organized by ColorLines, an online magazine covering issues related to racial justice, to discourage media use of "illegals" in reference to immigrants who arrived in this country illegally or overstayed visas.
Last week, Marisa Treviño of Latina Lista took the next step: questioning the AP's judgment on its style, and that of outlets that go along with it. After being offended by the use of "illegal immigrant" used to describe CSU Fresno's accomplished student body president in a headline when his status was disclosed recently, she posted last Thursday:
...the AP, always looked upon as the guardian and ultimate authority on newspaper writing style, refuses to acknowledge that maybe a group other than itself can deem a particular term inappropriate for news usage -- especially a group that is offended by that term.
It wouldn't be so bad if only the AP used the term but because many in the industry follow its lead like sheep in a pack, they also use the term when referring to undocumented immigrants. In speaking with a few editors at different newspapers about their usage of the term, they have replied that they use it because it is "sanctioned" by the AP.
Robert Huffstutter/Flickr (Creative Commons)
A recent study by UCLA's North American Integration and Development Center examined the future earning potential and economic input of the estimated 825,000 now-undocumented youths who stand to benefit from the DREAM Act, proposed legislation that would allow a path to legal status for college students and military enlistees.
The conclusion, from a report released this week: An estimated $1.4 trillion current dollars in income generated by DREAM Act beneficiaries over 40 years.
From the report:
In this study, we examine two scenarios. In the first, we calculate the income that the lower-bound estimated 825,000 beneficiaries would generate over a 40-year period, representative of the work life of a 25- to 65-year-old employed individual. In our second scenario, called “No DREAMers Left Behind,” we analyze the income that would be generated in the same 40-year period if the entire group of 2.1 million potential beneficiaries could successfully meet the education or military service requirement.
By observing the educational attainment of the Latino population (which represents over 80 percent of the total potential beneficiary cohort, according to the MPI) and applying those trends to the 825,000 eligible individuals in the MPI scenario, our study concludes that the income generated over 40 years would be $1.4 trillion in current dollars (actual income would be significantly higher if inflation over 40 years is taken into account).
In the No DREAMers Left Behind scenario, 2.1 million undocumented immigrants would become legalized and generate approximately $3.6 trillion over the same 40-year period (also in current dollars).
Photo by Josh Self/Flickr (Creative Commons)
Graduation cap and accoutrements,Â October 2010
A university student body president and former high school valedictorian, undocumented? Yes, and it shouldn't surprise anyone.
CSU Fresno's campus daily, The Collegian, revealed the immigration status of student body president Pedro Ramirez yesterday after contacting him regarding an anonymous tip, an e-mail sent to the daily alleging that Ramirez was serving as president without pay because he was undocumented. While he had not been out in the open about his status, save for with school administrators, Ramirez confirmed it.
From the story:
Ramirez said that ASI administrators were aware that he would not be paid for the ASI position, but he willfully accepted it as a volunteer position.
“For me, it’s an emotional issue,” Ramirez said. “Not a lot of people know that I am undocumented. A lot of people I got to class with…students, faculty, staff and staff administrators think I’m a normal student.”
Ramirez, an AB 540 student, didn’t know of his legal status until his senior year of high school before his graduation.
AB 540 is a California state law that allows eligible undocumented students to pay in-state tuition fees instead of the more costly out-of state fees.