Fewer Dreams Deferred in California Thanks to New Law

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Photo: Office of Antonio Villaraigosa

For undocumented students in California, 2013 brings a new blessing.  As of January 1, California has started letting undocumented students access the state’s public financial aid system.

From the Riverside Press-Enterprise:  “The law covers students who attended high school in California for at least three years and graduated from a California high school.  It also benefits U.S. citizens and legal residents who attended California high schools but later moved out of state, making them previously ineligible for state financial aid.”

The projected number of students expected to apply for the grant is 20,000, less than 1% of the state’s college students.  Still, a contentious debate ensued upon the bill’s introduction in the legislature.  Relentless advocacy, however, from thousands across the state helped ensure the bill’s passage.  NCLR’s Affiliates were among that number.

TODEC Legal Services, an NCLR Affiliate, and its community programs director, Luz Gallegos, helped organize instrumental lobbying trips.  More from the Riverside Press-Enterprise:

“Luz Gallegos, community programs director for TODEC Legal Services, a Perris immigrant-assistance group, said that when immigrants obtain higher-paying jobs, they contribute more in taxes.

“Under an Obama administration policy that went into effect in August, young undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements can obtain temporary work permits.

“In 2011, Gallegos traveled three times with a busload of other Inland residents to Sacramento to lobby for passage of the Dream Act.”

We congratulate all the dedicated activists and organizations that were instrumental in this legislative victory.  DREAMers in California are one step closer to fulfilling their potential.

Immigration Reform Back on the Table

What a difference an election makes.

The Huffington Post is reporting that Senate Democrats and White House officials will make a push for immigration reform as soon as the president is inaugurated.

From HuffPost:

A Democratic Senate source who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Huffington Post that the full push for reform won’t happen immediately, but will begin soon after Obama starts his second term. The Dream Act, which would give legal status to undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children, will be included in the efforts, according to the source.

“This isn’t going to happen during lame duck,” the source said.

The Obama administration has been a bit coy on what it views as its list of second-term priorities, with much of the early focus being spent on fiscal and tax policies that will take effect at the end of the year. But one close Obama advisor, not authorized to speak on the issue, said it made eminent political sense to try immigration reform at the top of the second term. And the president himself seemed to preview his intentions of doing just that during an interview with Univision late in his campaign, saying it was among his biggest failures.

There are no concrete details yet as to what a proposal would look like, but this is certainly encouraging news. We’re ready for this fight. We hope you are, too.