Friday, April 30, 2010

DREAM Act Advocacy: Cornell University

April 22, 2010
Skorton letter in favor of DREAM Act attracts support of university presidents
Cornell President David Skorton has written a letter in support of bipartisan legislation that would provide some undocumented students with a pathway to permanent U.S. residency. The letter, which has been sent to members of Congress, has also been signed by eight New York state university presidents.

The DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act of 2009, sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), would amend the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to permit states to determine residency for college and university students.

Under the DREAM Act, undocumented alien students who arrive in the United States as minors and who graduate from a U.S. high school would obtain temporary residency for six years. During that time they must acquire a degree from a U.S. institution of higher education or complete at least two years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor's degree or higher degree, or have served in the military for at least two years and, if discharged, have received an honorable discharge.

After meeting these criteria and having lived in the United States continuously for five years, they would become eligible for conditional permanent residency in the United States.

"I am very excited to hear of President Skorton's support of the DREAM Act. Cornell University, alongside its peer institutions, is certainly in a position to have real effects on the type of attention that the DREAM Act garners within the discussion on immigration reform," said Alex Cárdenas '10, an American studies major.

He continued, "For many of my classmates, the lack of financial support and even the 'othering' of their college experience through the lack of protective measures which would safeguard them from actions such as deportations (which has occurred to Cornell students in the past) allows me to say that we must push to do more for the protection of this country's scholars. The [DREAM] Act is a measure to ensure that thousands of students who wish to pursue higher education in this country have the necessary means and support to do so."

The presidents of the State University of New York, the City University of New York, the State University of New York at Buffalo and Stony Brook, New York University, the University of Rochester, Syracuse University and Fordham University have signed on to Skorton's letter. It has been sent to the New York congressional delegation to ask for its support, and to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to thank them for their work on comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

The letter reads, in part:

"We would also like to take this opportunity to affirm our strong support for federal legislation that would provide a pathway to legal residency -- and remove barriers to higher education -- for thousands of students who are not legal residents of this country, through no fault of their own.

"As you prepare to introduce comprehensive immigration legislation, we urge you to include the bipartisan 2009 DREAM Act -- the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act -- which provides undocumented immigrant children who graduate from U.S. high schools in good standing with conditional residency status.

"This would enable them to enroll in colleges and universities in states that currently do not recognize them and to qualify for some federal and state financial aid benefits as well as in-state tuition.

"Currently, undocumented children can only obtain permanent residency through their parents. Many of these students came to this country as infants. This is the only home they have ever known, the only language they speak. They are the products of our excellent primary and secondary educational system and they deserve the right to access our institutions of higher education and become productive and engaged members of our society.

"This legislation will correct an injustice perpetrated upon thousands of American students and ultimately will benefit our country. It is the right thing to do and should be done now."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Invitation to March for Immigration

Dear East Coast Chicano Students,

We write to inform you about a march for immigration reform occurring in New Haven on May 1st, the International Day of the Worker. We invite you to join hands with thousands of other demonstrators to make our voices heard. The march will begin at 10 AM from Front Street and Grand Avenue and proceed down Grand Avenue until to the Federal Building plaza behind city hall. Buses will be provided to transport students and New Haven members to the start site. Congresswoman Delauro will be present at the march and will be accompanied by other speakers who will address the urgent need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
The time for change is now. With a sympathetic president and a liberal congress the possibilities for humane comprehensive reform can and must become a reality. On March 19, Congressmen Charles E. Schumer and Lindsey O. Graham issued an op-ed in The Washington Post declaring their intent to publish a bill that would address many of the problems inherint in the current US immigration policy. With a sympathetic president, democratically controlled congress, and a bipartisan effort to draft this bill, prospect for humane and comprehensive reform has not been this strong since the 2007 Kennedy-McCain bill. In 2009, over two hundred deaths occurred in Arizona alone as immigrants tried to cross the border (for more information click here). The system as it stands today is broken

The recent passing of Arizona's controversial immigration bill (SB 1070) should serve to awaken us all to the oppression and racism inherent in our current system of immigration enforcement. Expanding on already vicious programs like 287 (g), SB 1070 does nothing to protect us; it only creates the equivalent of a police state for anyone who does not fit perfectly into officers' image of an "American citizen." We can no longer stand by as criminals like Sheriff Joe Arpaio continue to violate the basic rights of human beings and even wield influence over legislation. 

For the sake of our communities, we can wait no longer. Accordingly, MEChA de Yale hopes you will join us as we march with in unity down the streets of New Haven to demand that Obama fulfill his promise and make Comprehensive Immigration Reform a reality. We truly hope to share in this experience with you.

Thank you,
MEChA de Yale

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist; 
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist; 
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist; 
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew; 
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me. 
--Veni Markovski