More about the DREAM Act: Freedom University in Georgia

28 Oct

Moi wrote about the DREAM Act in What is the DREAM Act?

As with any law or law change, there are pros and cons.

Balanced Politics. Org has a really good summary of Dream Act pros and cons:

Yes No
  1. The foundation of the United States, as it describes on our Statue of Liberty, is immigration.
  2. Millions of illegal immigrants will stay in the shadows of society without some path to citizenship.
  3. It would generate additional tax revenues from both employers and employees as jobs are allowed to come into the open.
  4. We’d be able to count on the American justice system to protect wronged individuals and hold criminal immigrants accountable, whereas now illegals are afraid to be a part of the system due to possible deportation.
  5. It’s inhumane to break up families that have built a life in America.
  6. It may be good for the U.S. economy since immigrants can fill jobs that most Americans don’t want, often at a much lower cost to businesses.
  7. Homeland Security resources that focus on illegal immigrants can be redirected to tracking and finding terrorists.
  8. The current legal immigration path to citizenship is costly, time-consuming, inefficient, and limited. Thus, people seeking entry into the U.S. often have no choice but to do so illegally.
  9. It brings freedom and a path to self-sufficiency that isn’t available to billions of others around the world who aren’t lucky enough to be born in the United States.
  1. A path to citizenship rewards people for breaking the law.
  2. It’s unfair to the people who have followed the rules in their quest for citizenship.
  3. It will create a flood of illegal immigrants from everywhere who will try to get in before the law goes into effect.
  4. The program would add millions of people to the welfare rolls, who consume government resources such as health care, social security, and education while paying little or no taxes. Thus, the out-of-control government deficits would be pushed further to the edge of bankruptcy.
  5. It further erodes the English language and American culture in the United States.
  6. It would take away more jobs from current American citizens and drive down wages of remaining jobs.
  7. It would create an influx of voters who support the president & lawmakers that gave them citizenship at the expense of existing citizens.
  8. It would lead to further overpopulation and crowding of American cities.
  9. Terrorists, drug dealers, and other foreign enemies will exploit any open border or amnesty policies put in place.
  10. Plenty of better solutions exist, such as increasing legal immigration limits and reforming worker visa programs.

Related Links

Many who support the Dream Act are looking a the impact of an aging population on a society.

Jeremy Laurance writes in U.K.’s Independent about the impact on aging. In Why an ageing population is the greatest threat to society:

Of all the threats to human society, including war, disease and natural disaster, one outranks all others. It is the ageing of the human population.

No invading army, volcanic eruption or yet undreamt of plague can rival ageing in the breadth or depth of its impact on society. Over the next half century the proportion of people aged 60-plus around the world is expected to more than double. By 2050, for the first time in human history, old people will outnumber child-ren on the planet.

In some developed counties the number of older people will be twice the number of children. The impact of this transformation will be felt in every area of life, including economic growth, labour markets, taxation, the transfer of property, health, family composition, housing and migration. And the “demographic agequake” is already under way.

A argument for immigration is that younger people are added to the population base and helps the aging problem.

Kathy Lohr of NPR reports on a new university in Georgia. In the article, Undocumented Students Take Education Underground, Lohr reports:

About 35 students meet every Sunday at an undisclosed location in Georgia to study. They are undocumented and banned from attending some of the most prestigious colleges in the state.

Georgia is one of three states to bar undocumented students from attending schools. But a group of professors at the University of Georgia has created a fledgling school to provide a place for students to learn.

They call it Freedom University, named after the schools set up during the civil rights era to teach African-Americans in the Deep South. University of Georgia history professor Pam Voekel is one of the volunteer instructors.

“They really do see this as a civil rights struggle,” she says. “They are being excluded from higher education, and so we went with that as part of that kind of tribute to that prior struggle.”

A Form Of Protest

The school came about after Georgia legislators passed a bill to ban undocumented students from attending the top five universities in the state. The law also requires these students to pay out-of-state

But Voekel says students wanted to do more than just protest.

“What the undocumented students were saying is, ‘We want to be in a classroom. How you could really help us, professors, is to offer courses,'” she says….

Freedom University professors like Lorgia Garcia-Pena have cautioned that the deferred action policy does not address education.

Yovany Diaz, a student at Freedom U, is applying for deferred status, though that won’t afford him in-state tuition at Georgia universities.

“It allows people to apply to not be deported right now. It does not solve the problem for our undocumented dreamers,” she says.

Those who fought to pass the restrictions say only legal residents should be allowed to attend public schools. Earlier this year, state Se. Barry Loudermilk lobbied for a measure that would have expanded the current ban from five universities to all public colleges.

“We have to be responsible with taxpayer dollars,” he says. “We also have to ensure that these seats that are available in our colleges and universities are there for our citizens, students and legal foreign students that have come into this nation looking for a better education. They’ve done so legally, and they want to get a seat at the table.”

The Georgia Board of Regents says it will follow the law. A spokesman says the government’s deferred action program does not mean that undocumented students will now be considered U.S. residents.

‘A Given Right’

In Atlanta, Martin returns to his parents’ home after class and after working with his father as a day laborer. Posters of Led Zeppelin hang on the wall. So do the honor medals Martin earned in high school.

“Because of the ban and because of all these negative things, something was able to spawn from this, and that was Freedom University,” he says. “It should be a given right to be educated, you know?”

Martin and others here know they’re not getting credit for classes, but they hope their time at Freedom University will prepare them for courses at a real college. Since last year, six students have received private scholarships at out-of-state schools.

According to the Christian Science Monitor (CSM), fewer than expected have applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA):

David Grant reports in the CSM article, DREAM Act-lite: 7 in 100 eligible illegal immigrants apply, so far:

Now, the numbers are in for the program’s first month. As of Sept. 13, at least 82,000 illegal immigrants have filed applications to take the government up on its offer, a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the DHS announced Friday. That’s almost 7 percent of the 1.2 million illegal immigrants whom advocacy groups estimate are currently eligible for the program.

All in all, we’re very satisfied,” not only with the number of applicants but “also with the way the program is being implemented,” says Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.

While some advocates may have expected “hundreds of thousands” of applications out of the gate, Ms. Hincapie says that was never a realistic proposition because of the complexity of the application, concerns from illegal immigrants about making themselves known to the government, and questions about how a potential President Mitt Romney would handle the program.

Another 500,000 or so individuals will meet eligibility requirements in the future, according to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), for a total of about 1.7 million potential applicants.

Of the 82,000 people to apply, 63,000 have appointments scheduled for the recording of biometric data. Twenty-nine cases have already been resolved, with 1,660 more cases ready for final review, according to DHS….

Successful applicants win a deferral from deportation for two years, but after that they must periodically reapply to reauthorize their deferrals, Doris Meissner, MPI senior fellow and former commissioner of the US Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS), told the Monitor last month. While rooting out fraud is always important, Ms. Meissner said, lying to the government during the application process is cause for deportation, and fraud uncovered even after someone is sheltered under DACA means illegal immigrants applying fraudulently “will have put themselves into serious jeopardy.” 

To qualify for the DACA program, applicants must be under age 31, have lived in the US for five or more years consecutively, served in the military or be pursuing an education or have graduated from high school, have come to America before age 16, and have no significant criminal record. Applicants must pay a $465 fee and submit to a biometric scan and background investigation.

If successful, applicants gain a two-year deferral from deportation proceedings and the opportunity to apply for a work permit, but no path to US citizenship. If unsuccessful, there is no appeals process.

Freedom University points to the failure of U.S. Immigration policy.



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