Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Obama a Leader for Immigration Reform'?

Representative Gutierrez, original sponsor of Strive Act 2007 and co-sponsor of DREAM Act House version, certainly believes so.

In a new add aimed at the Hispanic voting block, Rep. Gutierrez is quoted:
“We know what it feels like being used as a scapegoat just because of our background and last name,” says Representative Luis Gutierrez, whose district includes part of Chicago, in Spanish. “And no one understands this better than Barack Obama!”

Obama also recently released an ad featuring Caroline Kennedy's endorsement.

Both ads can be viewed here.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Which Presidential Candidate Will Best Help DREAMERS?

Someone over at DREAM Act Portal posted this article, and I decided to post it on my blog. This article briefly mentions each of the candidates position on DREAM, and for most it parallels their position on comprehensive immigration reform. The information that Mitt Romney would support DREAM Act is surprising, and I am not sure where the author of the article received this information from.

Where Do Presidential Candidates Stand on The DREAM Act?
by Dina Horwedel
Jan 27, 2008, 22:30

As the presidential race heats up, a segment of the non-voting population as well as voters on both sides of the debate to help undocumented students access college will be watching to see where the candidates stand on the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act).

This failed federal legislation would have provided permanent legal residency for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, under the age 16, by their parents. Under the latest version, they would need to complete two years of college or enroll in the armed forces and would need to have lived in the U.S. for five years before applying for such status. The law would have also made it easier for undocumented students to access in-state tuition, rather than the higher out-of-state tuition that keeps many students from fulfilling their higher education dreams.

Because the U.S. Congress failed to pass the law, the DREAM Act has been a distant dream, and a crazy quilt of laws remain at the state level. In Arizona this month, voter-approved Proposition 300 took effect, and nearly 4,000 students at universities and community colleges were denied in-state tuition after failing to prove legal residency, according to the state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee report.

Although undocumented residents can’t vote, citizen on both sides of the debate are considering where the parties stand on immigration. Fifty-seven percent of Latinos, the nation’s largest and fastest growing minority group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, self-identify as Democrats or are leading towards the Democratic Party, according to a newly released nationwide survey conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center. The center states that although Latinos only comprise approximately 9 percent of voters nationwide, their votes could swing the presidential election because of their numbers in states that are expected to be hotly contested, including Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico.

Following are the presidential candidates and their positions on the DREAM Act.

Democratic Candidates

Sen. Hillary Clinton

Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York supports the DREAM Act, according to her official Web site. Clinton notes that U.S. immigration laws are inadequate and poorly reflect national values of respect and compassion. She advocates a strict but fair immigration policy that provides a way for undocumented residents to obtain legal residency while working towards citizenship. As part of that policy, Clinton “strongly” supports the DREAM Act, which she says “provides a path to citizenship through military service or higher education for children who were brought to the U.S. by their parents.”

Clinton also provided the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) with a statement voicing her support of the DREAM Act: “I will continue to strongly support the DREAM Act, which enables undocumented students to pursue higher education, attend college legally, and pursue legal residency. Access to college is part of the American dream and we have to make it easier for all individuals to get there, and to graduate… As President, I will work even harder to build a stronger America for everyone. I am committed to a diverse administration that reflects America. Diversity is not a campaign slogan or a catchy phrase… it is a commitment to government that reflects the people it serves,” she says.

Sen. John Edwards

Sen. Edwards’ camp released this prepared statement to Diverse, made in October 2007, about Edwards’ support for the DREAM Act. “Immigration is central to the story of America, but today our immigration system needs a fundamental overhaul. Our security is threatened by borders we cannot control. Our economy is harmed by an underground economy featuring a large and unprotected labor force. And our values are violated when 12 million people live in the shadows of our society, vulnerable to abuse and fearful of deportation,” he said.

“We need to overhaul our immigration laws and that should include giving children who grew up here the opportunity to build a better life. I co-sponsored the DREAM Act when I was in the Senate to give young people who consider the United States their home, have worked hard in school, and have stayed out of trouble, the chance to go to college and pursue their dreams.

“And it simply should not even be a matter for debate that young men and women who proudly wear our nation’s uniform, who demonstrate their willingness to fight and die for this country, should receive all the opportunity that America has to offer,” Edwards said.

Sen. Barack Obama

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois supports the DREAM Act. Obama’s campaign headquarters provided the following quote from a statement about his support for the DREAM Act to HACU: “Our immigration policy should be legal, orderly, humane, and safe. And we should give immigrant children the chance to attend college. I supported and helped pass the Illinois state version of the DREAM Act, and I have worked hard with Senator Durbin to move the federal version of the bill through the Senate. I believe that all students, regardless of national origin, deserve an equal opportunity to a high quality public education. Under current law, students who were brought to the United States years ago as undocumented immigrant children and who have stayed and excelled in and out of school have no hope of attending college with affordable in-state tuition.”

Republican Candidates

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani

When it comes to immigration, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani states on his official Web site: “Real immigration reform must put security first because border security and homeland security are inseparable in the Terrorists’ War on Us. The first responsibility of the federal government is to protect our citizens by controlling America’s borders, while ending illegal immigration and identifying every non-citizen in our nation. We must restore integrity, accountability and the rule of law to our immigration system to regain the faith of the American people.”

Giuliani does not state on the site where he stands on the DREAM Act, and his team did not return calls to Diverse.

Gov. Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, has a hard-line stance regarding the DREAM Act and any other immigration policy that would allow undocumented students to pay in-state college tuition.

Huckabee states on his official Web site: “I oppose and will never allow amnesty. I opposed the amnesty President Bush and Senator McCain tried to ram through Congress this summer, and opposed the misnamed DREAM Act, which was a nightmare because it would have put us on the slippery slope to amnesty for all. Because once we open that door even a crack, we’ll never get it closed again.”

Sen. John McCain

Arizona Sen. John McCain is on the front lines of immigration reform in his home state. McCain has served as an advocate for educating undocumented students and allowing students in good standing to obtain a college education while paying in-state tuition.

McCain was a co-sponsor of The DREAM Act of 2007, and an earlier Senate bill that provided for comprehensive immigration reform, including the DREAM Act of 2006. McCain was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act of 2005.

Gov. Mitt Romney

On his official Web site, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney accuses fellow candidates Giuliani and Huckabee, and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, for being soft on immigration. His record as governor of Massachusetts includes vetoing a plan that would have permitted undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities.

Yet, Romney advocates immigration law reforms that would allow undocumented college graduates to remain legally in the United States. He says on his Web site that this would keep American globally competitive by providing for an educated workforce.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Okla. Immigration Law Blamed for Death

Is this what Americans want to happen in this country? Parents too afraid to get the hospital treatment their sick baby desperately needs for fear of deportation. Oklahoma recently passed some of the toughest immigration laws against illegal immigrants in the country, and an innocent US born child is dead because of it.

Okla. Immigration Law Blamed for Death

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Edgar Castorena had diarrhea for 10 days and counting, and the illegal immigrant parents of the 2-month-old didn't know what to do about it.

They were afraid they would be deported under a new Oklahoma law if they took him to a major hospital. By the time they took him to a clinic, it was too late.

A ruptured intestine that might have been treatable instead killed the U.S.-born infant, making him a poster child for opponents of House Bill 1804 months before it was enacted as the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007.

"The sad part of it was the child didn't have to die if House Bill 1804 didn't ever come around," said Laurie Paul, who runs the clinic where Edgar was finally taken. "It was a total tragedy because the bill was there to create the myths and untruths and the fear."

The law, billed by its backers as the nation's toughest legislation against illegal immigration, took effect Nov. 1. It bars illegal immigrants from obtaining jobs or state assistance and makes it a felony to harbor or transport illegal immigrants.

A final portion of the law goes into effect July 1, requiring private companies to verify the employment eligibility of all new hires.

While it's difficult to characterize which state has the toughest immigration-related law, Oklahoma's goes beyond most because it includes the clause about harboring and transporting illegal immigrants, said Ann Morse, program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures' Immigrant Policy Project.

"What I think these laws may have are unintended consequences on the general public," Morse said recently. "How does the law get implemented? Who is the target?"

The crackdown has caused thousands of Hispanics to flee for neighboring states, with as many as 25,000 leaving northeastern Oklahoma alone, according to the Greater Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The law's fallout also can be seen in the struggling businesses, worker shortages and widespread fear among immigrants who say they are afraid to drive to church or the market because police might pick them up.

"I feel like I'm in some kind of Nazi country where if they see your color, you'll be stopped," said Maria Sanchez, a 22-year-old student who is looking to leave Oklahoma rather than risk waiting the seven years it will take to get her papers. "I can't work, I can't study, I can't go out, there's no point of me staying here."

Civil rights leaders call the law xenophobic and redundant, and say other states will wrongly look to Oklahoma to push their own anti-illegal immigrant legislation. Business and church leaders also have been vocal opponents.

"Oklahoma was settled by immigrants ... which means that diverse is normal in Oklahoma," said the Rev. Miguel Rivera, president of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders. "It's difficult for us to understand a state which is so Christian, that to have all this animosity toward immigrants is completely outrageous."

Supporters — described by Dan Howard, the founder of an anti-illegal immigration Web site, as "good, American, God-fearing people of the heartland that bleed red, white and blue" — say the law is necessary because of Washington's bungled immigration policy. They also believe the law has helped deter crime and punishes the companies that make money on the backs of illegal labor.

The bill's Republican author, state Rep. Randy Terrill, said similar versions have been introduced or are under consideration in more than a dozen states. Last year, more than 1,500 pieces of immigration-related legislation were introduced across the country, with 244 becoming law in 46 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"More than half the nation will soon be modeling Oklahoma's bill," said Terrill, who plans to introduce a companion piece this year that would make English the state's official language, order schools to report how many illegal children are enrolled and require people or businesses who transport, hire or rent to illegal immigrants to forfeit property.

Terrill said there's no correlation between his bill and Edgar's death, noting that the child died in July, months before the law took effect, and that the law provides an exception for emergency medical care.

"To the extent that these illegal alien parents deprived their own child needed and necessary medical care because of their ignorance of the law, then they should be in prison, frankly," Terrill said.

Edgar's parents are believed to have gone underground following the boy's death, returning either to Mexico or going to stay with family in Arkansas, according to interviews with people in Tulsa's Latino community.

Far from the halls of the state Capitol, fear leads illegal immigrants to develop elaborate emergency plans for their children in case the youngsters should find their parents missing.

Irene Maldonado, 24, has been designated as the one to call in case her sister-in-law gets deported. Meanwhile, she worries if her husband, Jose, will come home on weekends from the construction jobs he works throughout the state.

She has legal residency, he doesn't.

"I don't know if he has less fear, or he's trying to be the macho guy," she said.

Illegal immigrant Maria Saldivar, 44, searches for what little factory work she can to support her three children. Past employers now ask for papers.

"Every time I look for a job, it's always the same thing," Saldivar said in Spanish through a translator. "There was more work for me to do before."

Even workers with proper paperwork are leaving for jobs in neighboring states rather than split up their families.

"My guy who runs my framing crew, he had 70 workers, and as of Nov. 1, he lost 35 of them," said Caleb McCaleb, who runs a homebuilding company in Edmond. "My painter has lost 30 percent of his work force, my landscaper has lost 25 percent of his work force."

Some in Terrill's own party doubt the wisdom of his legislation.

"We've removed not only those here illegally and working, but those who are here legally," said state Sen. Harry Coates, a Republican who voted against 1804 and wants to repeal portions of the bill. "I'm not the smartest person in the world, but I understand economics."

Vicente Ruiz, a 47-year-old legal immigrant who runs his own electrical contracting business, put it more bluntly: "It's all about making money, and if everybody moves away, the whole state is going to suffer."

Monday, January 21, 2008

More On In-state Tuition

Though I never liked the emphasis on in-state tuition when dealing with the DREAM Act - all DREAMERS would gladly take legal status in lieu of in-state- but with DREAM Act unlikely to be brought up until 2009, the battle for lower higher education costs for all takes center stage.

While surfing the web for more information on in-state tuition I came upon an interesting paper titled Postsecondary Educational Access for Undocumented Students: Opportunities and Constraints. The paper is long, thirty-five pages in length. I'll highlight in this post the sections I found most important.

I found this particular passage discussing Plyer vs Doe very interesting in regards to the debate about accepting undocumented students into institutions of higher education:

One of the most important statements to date on undocumented immigrants’ access to public education was the landmark US Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe (1982), a case related not to postsecondary schooling but to K-12 education.
In a 5-4 decision, the Plyler Court held that the State of Texas could not deny undocumented immigrant children access to free K-12 public education. While the Court did not explicitly extend the same protections to undocumented students at the college level, Plyler v. Doe is relevant to the debate at hand for at least two reasons. First, the Court held that states must show that they have a compelling interest in limiting access to education for a particular group, and that in this case Texas had failed to do so. Indeed, the Court found that there was no significant financial burden imposed by undocumented immigrants on the state and rejected the claim that preventing undocumented immigrants
from accessing education would be an effective deterrent to further illegal immigration.

Second, while holding that education is not a fundamental right, the Court stressed that denying K-12 education to undocumented children amounted to creating a “lifetime of hardship” and a permanent “underclass” of individuals. This is significant, because at the time of the Plyler decision a high school diploma could very well lead to a well-paying job that could help one move up the socio-economic ladder. Indeed, Justice Brennan’s majority opinion is explicit in its declaration of the link between education and social mobility. Today, though, nearly a quarter of a century later, a high school diploma creates fewer opportunities for those entering the labor market. Arguably, the ticket to social and economic mobility has increasingly become a college degree, with college graduates’ average annual earnings almost double those of high school graduates and nearly three times those of high school drop-outs. While in 1982 the Supreme Court sought to prevent the creation of an underclass of undocumented individuals by assuring access to free public K-12 education, the new educational “ticket to the middle class” may well be a college degree.8 By today’s standards, then, not extending similar protections to undocumented students once they reach college age may create the very socio-economic chasms the Court had originally sought to avoid.

Later on in the paper the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) and the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) is discussed, as well as how these acts did little to alleviate all the confusion of undocumented immigrants and higher education:

Hence, according to Section 505 of the IIRIRA: An alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State … for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident (8 U.S.C. § 1623).

The Act further states:
A State may provide that an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States is eligible for any State or local public benefit for which such alien would otherwise be ineligible … through the enactment of a State law after August 22, 1996, which affirmatively provides for such eligibility(8 U.S.C. § 1621).

For its part, the PRWORA declared that:
An alien who is not a qualified alien is not eligible for any Federal public benefit [including] any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit, or any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of the United States or by appropriated funds of the United States (8 U.S.C. §1611).

Rather than settling the issue of undocumented students and higher education, however, the vagueness of these statutes has led to significant differences of opinion concerning Congress’s intent. Generally, though, there is agreement about two aspects of the laws: 1) neither the PRWORA nor the IIRIRA prohibit public postsecondary institutions from admitting undocumented students; and 2) under these statutes, undocumented individuals are not eligible for public benefits that entail actual monetary assistance, such as federal financial aid
programs that provide student loans or work study payments.

What is not clear, however, is whether the federal statutes confer on states the authority to decide whether or not to grant in-state tuition to undocumented students. Hence, Michael Olivas (2004) interprets the IIRIRA as giving states the authority to determine state residency for tuition purposes (a state benefit) and asserts that this state residency (and thus in-state tuition) does not entail a monetary benefit. Similarly, Ruge and Iza (2005) argue that the statutes do not prohibit states from granting in-state tuition as long as qualified out-of-state U.S. citizens can also receive the same benefit. Others, including the governor of Maryland, a former Wisconsin governor, and a former attorney general of Virginia, though, have cited the IIRIRA as the primary legal barrier to enacting state laws providing in-state tuition to undocumented students.

One last part I wanted to point out was the table on page 14 of the paper showing the Benefits of Higher Education. All these public benefits are good reasons for enacting the DREAM Act. Some of the benefits are listed below:

1. Increased tax revenue
2. Greater Productivity
3. Increased spending on consumer goods and services
4. Increased workforce flexibility
5. Decreased reliance on government financial support
6. Reduced crime rates

New Jersey and In-state

I recently came upon this article, which mentioned that New Jersey recently had a conference on in-state tuition for undocumented students and those on temporary visas. The article stated that the "immigration panel convened by Governor Corzine likely will recommend that undocumented immigrants pay the lower, in-state tuition rate at public colleges and universities."

This isn't the first time New Jersey has considered in-state for its undocumented students; since 2003 a bill addressing this issue has sat untouched. State schools in New Jersey, as in other states, vary on the way they deal with undocumented applicants. An example of this, is William Paterson University charges them out-of-state, while a few miles away Passaic County Community College charges them in-state based on the fact they live in the county. On the other hand, County College of Morris will not admit any student here illegal.

This bill will particularly help New Jersey students, since New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities in Trenton sites New Jersey having the second highest in-state tuition fees in the US.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Palomar College student leader is deported

Although the DREAM Act isn't mentioned in this article it sounds like Paola Oropeza would have benefited from the DREAM Act. According to the article she failed to leave the country after an immigration judge ordered her to, and this was the reason for her arrest and deportation. It is unfortunate that she did not seek help from friends and the community after being ordered deported the first time. The article states that she and her family are now seeking legal help, but as they are already deported the likelihood of any reprieve is slim. The article can be read below.

Palomar College student leader is deported

By: NOELLE IBRAHIM - Staff Writer

SAN MARCOS -- The president of a Latino student group at Palomar College has been deported to Mexico after she and close relatives were arrested in their Escondido home, immigration officials confirmed Friday.

Paola Oropeza, a 22-year-old advertising and marketing major at Palomar, was arrested Jan. 8 by a fugitive operations team with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for the agency in San Diego.

Oropeza was president of Palomar's chapter of MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan), a national organization that advocates community service and academic success for Latino students, in addition to promoting awareness of Chicano issues and history. Recent club activities include a holiday toy drive for needy children, hosting a "Night of Culture" and celebrating Cesar Chavez Day on campus.

"I was shocked and upset," said John Valdez, MEChA adviser and multicultural studies professor at Palomar. "It's been very distressing to have this happen."

Oropeza could not be reached on her cell phone for comment Friday.

The student had been ordered to leave the country by an immigration judge, but she failed to comply with that order, said Mack. She could not provide details about Oropeza's immigration background, but said she did not have a criminal record.

"She was one of many other people arrested that day after being targeted as part of an ongoing fugitive enforcement program," Mack said.

Oropeza was arrested with three others who are believed to be her relatives, said Mack. Valdez, who said he received a distressed phone call from Oropeza after she was placed in detention, later identified the people as Oropeza's mother, father and older sister. The sister is still in deportation proceedings, while Oropeza and her parents were taken to Tijuana, according to Valdez.

"Paola was very much traumatized," Valdez said, describing the phone call. "She was raised here, she grew up here. The family is looking into legal support to help their situation."

In the nearly two years he has known Oropeza, Valdez said they had never discussed her legal status.

"I had no idea," said Valdez. "The thought never occurred to me."

Valdez described Oropeza as a studious, quiet person who was a productive MEChA president for two semesters.

"As a result of her leadership, MEChA grew in attendance and we were able to put together successful activities because of her work," he said. "I was impressed with the way she carried herself. I never saw her angry or speaking down to anyone."

Oropeza was poised to complete her transfer requirements during the upcoming spring semester at Palomar, which starts Tuesday.

"Her world has been turned upside down," he said.

Contact staff writer Noelle Ibrahim at (760) 740-3517 or

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New In-State Bill Leaves DREAMERS in the Dust

Recently a new bill was introduced in Colorado that would take out the parents' residency requirement to receive in-state tuition at Colorado public colleges and universities. The rule currently says a student (22 and under) qualifies for in-state tuition only if the parents, not student, have lived for twelve consecutive months in the state. This currently puts students who are in foster care, homeless, and runaways at a disadvantage.

Though DREAM Act was mentioned, and though State Sen. Sandoval supports DREAM Act, she was careful to mention,
"...this is different because it affects only U.S. citizens."
And that,
"The Dream Act is another topic for another day."

Again and again dreams of undocumented students are pushed to the side - 'a topic for another day'. When will that day come, if ever?

Steve Jordan, president of Metropolitan State College of Denver said,
"He didn't want this to spark an immigration debate within the Capitol."

Jordan said dozens of Metro students who have trouble proving their parents' residency are stuck in the system morass — mostly homeless and foster kids.

"Don't we want to invest in the young people in Colorado?" he said. "This is more than about immigration ... but I'm fully cognizant that this will spark a hornet's nest."

What about DREAMERS? Are their futures not worth investing in? It is great that a larger group of students in Colorado may soon have access to in-state tuition, but once again DREAMERS are left in the dust. President Jordan is quite right, anything pro-immigration, such as (gasp)the cardinal sin of making higher education affordable for everyone regardless of legal status, will create controversy; but to not touch it for that reason is cowardly, and playing right into the hands of the anti-immigrants crowd.

The rest of the article can be read here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

More Teachers Need To Be Aware

Someone I know was recently on a flight and he struck up a conversation with a woman next to him. As they began speaking, it turned out that she was a law professor and dealt a lot with child advocacy. So my friend asked if she was aware of the 'DREAM Act', and she said she was not. She, however, was aware of students in that situation - being brought her as a young child and now undocumented. The Professor had even helped some of her students who were undocumented orphans get legal status (not an easy task), yet she had not heard of DREAM Act.

The point of this post is I believe more and more teachers need to be aware of DREAM Act. I do know that there are a few large teacher associations that have signed on to letters in support of DREAM, but I think they are a largely untapped resource of support. More individual teachers need to be made aware of the importance of DREAM Act. Though I believe that many Americans would support DREAM Act if they knew the truth about it, they have their own problems and their own concerns, so are less likely to actively speak out for it. Teachers, though, since they have watched so many undocumented students grow up and succeed, and then reach a roadblock at high school and/or college graduation, would be more likely be vocal about it.

Monday, January 7, 2008

S.C. Undocumented Students Could Face More Roadblocks

More negative immigration news. South Carolina House leaders have unveiled an immigration plan that would make lives very difficult for its illegal immigrant population. One of the worst parts of the plan is a provision that would not allow undocumented students to apply to any public college or receive any scholarship. Undocumented students already have to pay out-of-state rates in South Carolina, and most do not qualify for scholarships anyway without proper legal documentation. It's unfortunate that again and again undocumented students are lumped in with other illegal immigrants. Lets face it, the illegals applying to college aren't the ones who just jumped the fence a week ago. Majority, if not all, undocumented students were brought here as children and have graduated from a US high school. There is no reason for a college to use immigration status as a criteria because it shows nothing of the student's ability. Do the citizens of South Carolina really want their undocumented student population to join the underground work force, rather than educate and better themselves? That I even have to ask that question shows how out of hand anything related to immgration has become.

The article about the immigration plan for SC can be read here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

GTCC students at heart of immigration debate

Last month in North Carolina, a decision was reached that all Community Colleges in that state had to 'open their doors' to undocumented students; however they would still be charged out-of-state rates. Though most colleges and universities in the United States do admit undocumented students, there is never a guarantee.

As with anything related to immigration, there was an outcry in North Carolina. I find it strange that anyone can be against the education of young people, whether they are here legally or not.

In a recent article dealing with this very thing, Martin Lancaster, president of the community college system, defended the decision:

"In every era of American history, the latest wave of immigrants has faced the same opposition that Hispanics now face whether they arrived on our shores with or without documents," Lancaster wrote. "We are a nation of immigrants and if one reviews the names of those who have called or e-mailed the system office in opposition to our open-door policy, one must conclude that fifty or one hundred years ago, their grandparents or great grandparents faced the same opposition that they are now voicing."

In the same article, one undocumented student, Elena is quoted:

"There are some of us who are struggling very much to get an education," she said. "Some people don't get an education by choice, but that's not our situation."

The article also touches on the day to day stress of the lives of illegal immigrants:

In addition to the usual school stress, Elena worries about immigration agents - that they might deport her or her mother. That's a common worry for undocumented students, said Kristina Johnson, coordinator of the Latino Mental Health Awareness Campaign at the Mental Health Association in Greensboro.

"All of our families live with this stress," Johnson said. "The constant anxiety causes levels of cortisol to remain unnaturally high, which can affect your physical health."

Elena lives with her mom, and since she cannot get a NC drivers license, her mom drives her around.

"Because of that I do not feel independent," she said.

The full article can be read here.