Opinion: Dream Act unfair?

As a California resident and a legal United States citizen, I’m a firm believer that we should be put first when it comes to education and jobs

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Emma Steinkellner / Illustration

By Jenna Garcia | Opinion Co-Editor | October 21, 2011

On Saturday October 8, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed off on the second half of the California Dream Act. The Dream Act, states that illegal immigrant students that graduated from high school can apply for Cal-grant aid. Along with that, they will also be given a six-year residence permit.

Although there are good arguments on both sides, I am opposed to the bill. Legal residents have a hard enough time applying and receiving financial aid, throw illegal immigrants into the mix and it just heightens the competition.

As a California resident and a legal United States citizen, I’m a firm believer that we should be put first when it comes to education and jobs, especially in tough economic times like now.

I also believe that until they achieve citizen status, they should have to pay international student fees at which ever school they choose to go to. There are more than three thousand colleges in the United States. Most, if not all, accept international students who pay extra money monthly to further their education. These students are required to have a student visa while they study and eventually (some of them) apply for citizenship.

Although it’s a complicated process, it’s something that a majority of families have had to endure somewhere down the line. Another strong argument is that because the United States puts so much emphasis on cracking down on illegal immigration, the act sounds almost hypocritical.

In 2006, the estimated illegal immigration population in California was at 2,930,000, and it’s believed that the act will attract migrants and send a message to them that they can come to the states illegally only raising that number.

It’s understandable that supporters of the act believe it will help provide students to become more skillful therefore becoming more successful later in life, which will hopefully help reduce poverty.

Along with that, a student brought to America should not be punished for their parent’s decision to bring them to this country illegally. The fact that children from families that would normally be unable to provide the money needed for a university, can further their education is great and I support anyone who endeavors in making a better life for themselves.

The bill is a touchy subject for most people and whether you disagree or agree with it is ultimately up to you. No matter your opinion though, we won’t find out how effective this bill is until it’s put into use.

Editor - sbkerfuffle@gmail.com

There are 9 comments on Opinion: Dream Act unfair?:

Not telling on October 23, 2011 at 12:19 PM PDT

i agree with you jenna! also throw in that college expenses are rising explosively. So why should US citizens have to pay more while illegals pay less. that doesn't make sense!

Kelly N. on October 23, 2011 at 3:08 PM PDT

Jenna, Yes, college expenses are rising and the competition for students applying to colleges is even greater than it was ten, fifteen years ago. But unfortunately, cumulative statistics have shown that the current generation of undocumented immigrants kids aren't doing well enough to even consider applying to competitive colleges, let alone graduate high school, for reasons both economic and academic. Furthermore, let's not scapegoat undocumented immigrants as a main reason for our poor economy. It's a slick argument, but has no basis in reality. For instance, when you have difficulty applying for and receiving financial aid (as you mentioned), it is NOT because you're competing with "illegal aliens," as many politicians would have you believe. Our government has given education the financial axe in favor of bailing out corporate banks, outsourcing jobs to other countries for cheap labor, and funding trillion dollar military escapades in Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember that undocumented workers are deeply embedded in our economy, and when the economy suffers, they suffer too. You are a strong writer with a persuasive voice. Just make sure you look more deeply into issues before you express your opinion.

Cindy Cole on October 24, 2011 at 1:11 PM PDT

As a long-time advocate of this bill and having watched thousands of highly gifted students having to take deep alternate methods to get an education, if they even can finally find an alternate route, I am thrilled that part one of this bill is finally here. Let's understand - this does not give them free financial aid - it only gives them the right to apply for a loan. Amazing. With this act alone, they will help build the economy as they pay back the loan with interest. They will also become more prepared to be an educated member of society. In no way will this bill impact regular citizens from obtaining financial aid - free or loans. The second part of the bill, if passed, will allow them to actually be considered a portion of free money and finally allow them some aspects of citizenship - meaning, the legal right to actually obtain a job. Most of our undocumented residents pay their taxes on jobs either legally or unlegally obtained. There are millions of citizens that don't do that! Hurray for Governor Brown! Now if he would just allow them to drive and get auto insurance - I would really start to feel safer.

AK on October 26, 2011 at 10:08 AM PDT

Well said Jenna. There are MANY people that agree with you but typically won't say so because they will be perceived as racist. I enjoy your "rants." Keep it up!

Alex on October 27, 2011 at 7:51 PM PDT

No one is calling anyone racist. The Dream Act is not about race, it's about giving undocumented residents the right to pursue higher education by applying for loans and to obtain a job legally. Undocumented residents are of all races, so don't frame it as a race issue, because it's not!

Don Honda on October 28, 2011 at 6:24 PM PDT

Sorry, but there is much misinformation on both sides of the issue that is presented here. AB 130 was for Illegal Alien Students to access Private Scholarships (which have always been available to them)now using public funds and servants to administer them. AB 131 is for Illegal Alien Students (sorry, it's in the title and contents of the Bill--read it!)to have access to public State funds for higher education. Neither of these involve loans (which is a Federal Program) but they do receive indirect Federal help through incentive programs to Colleges and Universities targeting race and ethnicity. There is no path to Citizenship or Residency proscribed in either as only a Federal DREAM Act (dubious and not probable) could do this, or the current Naturalization Process that would now involve leaving the country for ten years once they declare their Illegal Status. Illegal Alien Students can not be employed Legally after using free State money to obtain a higher education. They would still have to work in the Black Market, under-the-counter, cash economy, or use false documents, and as such, would still not contribute much to our society economically as these are usually low-paying menial jobs. They would still need to rely on the generous American social services and free healthcare systems. Several pieces of misinformation in this article: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-dream-20110901,0,5365623. For the first year alone: “It is not known how many undocumented students would be eligible for the aid. A Senate committee analysis estimated the bill’s cost at about $40 million. That includes $13 million for Cal Grants, which average about $4,500; up to $15 million in community college waivers; and $12 million in institutional aid from the University of California and California State University systems.” http://egpnews.com/?p=29709 “On behalf of the California Student Aid Commission, I am requesting a correction to a quote attributed to me, Lori Nezhura, Legislative Director for the California Student Aid Commission, in the “Trying to Keep the Dream Alive” article posted on July 14, 2011 on EGPNews.com. It is imperative that your readers be informed that the number of High School Entitlement Cal Grants and Transfer Entitlement Cal Grants are unlimited and available to all students meeting financial need, GPA, and other eligibility criteria. Therefore, if passed, Dream Act students will be able to receive these awards if they meet the same requirements. Conversely, the number of Competitive Cal Grants is limited. However, the bill stipulates that Dream Act students may only receive one of these awards provided funds remain after all eligible non-AB 540 California residents are awarded.” Most of AB 131 assigns free State aid based on Need. CA Community College does not require a minimum GPA (fee-tuition waivers and EOPS), while the rest only requires a 2.0-2.6 GPA. So, this is not the “Best and the Brightest” of Illegal Alien Students. This is clearly Economic Discrimination against US Citizens, Legal Californian Residents, and Legal Immigrants who have seen their tuition rates rise dramatically while not being eligible or have seen their financial aid reduced. It is this discriminated population who ARE our FUTURE. Also, with the heavy recruitment of out-of-state and Foreign Nationals who can pay nearly twice the in-state tuition rate to refund our defunct education system, Legal Californian Residents and Legal Immigrants will be “priced out” and “placed out” of THEIR American Dream, THEIR higher education. And here’s how AB 131 does not help anyone: http://www.600words.com/2011/10/ca-dream-act-misleads-all-including-its-beneficiaries.html There are already 10,000 volunteers to start getting signatures with petitions ready this Tuesday. If there was $1Million to be spent, the petitions would be ready in one month. Donnelly is trying to get this done through social media and radio stations Here’s more info at: https://www.facebook.com/standwithcalifornia http://www.donnellyforassembly.com/ http://taxpayerrevolution.org/ http://stopab131.com/ https://www.facebook.com/StopAB131 Or you can order petitions by e-mail. Send your name, address, and the number of petitions requested to: stopab131@gmail.com or to info@CAPSweb.org.

Don Honda on October 28, 2011 at 6:26 PM PDT

AB 131 Illegal Aliens Students have been able to pay in-state tuition rates for several years now under AB 540.

Don Honda on October 30, 2011 at 11:44 AM PDT

Site for the LA Times quote is: www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-dream-20110901,0,5365623.story

Sean on October 31, 2011 at 8:52 PM PDT

Don Honda, I'm not entirely sure what fantasy land you're living in, but "generous American social services and free healthcare systems?" I don't THINK so. 47 million people in the U.S. are currently living without access to health care. The U.S. is ranked #37 in health care by the World Health Organization, right behind Costa Rica. All these "generous" social services like social security and health care seem like an indulgent privilege until you actually NEED them, then it becomes a birthright. And low-paying, menial jobs that don't contribute to the economy? How very condescending. Who do you think grows and harvests your food, cooks at the restaurants you eat at, paves the roads and builds the bridges you drive on? Who works in the factories for corporations whose products you consume? I suppose this means you think those idiots on Wall Street are the ones who contribute to the economy by outsourcing jobs and gambling people's life savings?

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