Things That Matter

Here’s How The New York Dream Act Will Help Undocumented Students Achieve Their Dreams

The New York Senate passed a breakthrough Dream Act bill that will assist thousands of undocumented immigrants to pursue higher education. New York’s state Senate passed the Dream Act, which will provide access to state college tuition aid to undocumented immigrants. The bill is the same in name as the federal measure that would give provisional green cards to undocumented people who came to the U.S. as children. New York’s version focuses on another issue in the national immigration debate: college tuition.

The Dream Act passed the New York Senate with a 40-20 vote in what is a historic moment for undocumented youth in the state of New York.

The bill, which passed the New York Assembly with a 90-37 vote, will allow New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, to qualify for scholarships and the New York State Tuition Assistance Program if they meet certain criteria.

Applicants must have done one of the following to qualify:

Graduated from a New York state high school they attended for at least two years;

Applied for college within five years of receiving a high school diploma;

Graduated from a certified high school equivalency program

Be otherwise eligible for in-state tuition.

The Dream Act quickly became a top priority for the state senate since New York Democrats control it for the first time in a decade. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has confirmed he will sign the measure into law.

The bill is expected to affect an estimated 146,000 young people who attended New York public schools but have been ineligible to receive financial aid under federal and state law, according to an analysis by the N.Y.U. Law School’s Immigrant Rights Clinic.

The bill represents a gateway to higher education that was previously an afterthought for the countless undocumented youth in New York.

Yatziri Tovar, a DREAMer and Make the Road New York activist, has spent the last few years advocating for the Dream Act bill. She acknowledges the significance of the bill and what it means to so many people in a state that were previously cut off from pursuing college due to financial reasons.

“Back when I was still in high school is when I started advocating for the bill and even during my entire time in college I was fighting for the bill to become reality,” Tovar said. “I was full of emotions and truly happy that future students will be able to not worry about finances because in college the anxiety and fears that you get because of money drive you crazy.”

Immigrant rights groups praised the legislative victory as a win for local organizing efforts at the state-wide level. Make the Road New York, an immigration rights organization, has been fighting for this bill since the start. The organization hopes this is just the start of more opportunities for undocumented people in the state.

Tovar says she has spoken with many high school students who now have clear intentions of applying to college thanks to the Dream Act. She says they are ecstatic to hear the news that money won’t get in the way of school anymore. “They’ve been fighting for this for years and our youth is fired up about this victory.”

Critics say the cost of the Dream Act is too high but supporters say the long-term financial benefit of educating immigrant students outweighs the costs.

Republican senators in the state criticized the bill questioning why it should pass for people that “are in this country illegally.” Another argument against it was the initial costs of the bill. Gov. Cuomo has included the measure in his state budget, in which he budgeted $27 million annually for it.

New York joins 15 other states in the U.S. that currently offer in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants. While six states, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, and South Carolina, have intentionally banned similar measures.

“We must do everything we can at the state level to make it easier for immigrants, regardless of their status, to get an education that will empower them to better contribute to our communities across New York state,” state Democratic Sen. Robert Jackson told KGUN9.

What’s next for undocumented immigrants in New York?

The New York state legislature is now expected to take up more measures that will boost opportunities for those without lawful immigration status including drivers licenses. While talks are still early and there is expected to be Republican push back, immigrant rights groups are happy to see these measures being discussed.

Tovar says the Dream Act is first of many priorities for the undocumented community that includes gaining rights to a drivers license. She notes many undocumented people have been deported because they had no identification on them during traffic stops.

“The Dream Act was a huge victory for our youth but New York can do more,” Tovar says. “We are fighting for driving licenses because a simple traffic stop can lead to deportation and public transportation isn’t always available. We hope they can accomplish that this year.”

The passed bill is named The Jose Peralta New York Dream Act, after state Sen. Jose Peralta, who advocated for the bill for years before his death from cancer last year. His wife Evelyn, two kids, and his mother were in attendance to watch the bill pass.

“Today my husband’s dream becomes our reality,” Evelyn Peralta said after the vote. “To every immigrant hearing my words, we love you, we see you and we welcome you into our American family.”


READ: The Supreme Court Won’t Hear The DACA Case This Term Letting The Program Continue

Share this story by tapping that little share button below

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Biden Says He Will Introduce An Immigration Bill “Immediately” But What Will Be In It?

Things That Matter

Biden Says He Will Introduce An Immigration Bill “Immediately” But What Will Be In It?

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

During the 2020 election, Latinos were a massive electoral voting bloc. In fact, for the first time ever, the Latino vote outnumbered the Black vote. According to the Pew Research Center, there are now 32 million eligible Latino voters and that accounts for 13 percent of all eligible voters. 

And, Latinos helped deliver the presidency to Joe Biden. So it can be expected that the community has high expectations for Joe Biden to deliver on his campaign promises of immigration reform.

During a recent speech about his first 100 days in office, Joe Biden outlined his priorities once he’s sworn in on January 20th, and said he would “immediately” send an immigration bill to congress.

Joe Biden promises swift action on immigration reform as soon as he takes office.

Over the weekend, President-Elect Joe Biden promised he would take swift action when it comes to immigration reform and rolling back many of the cruel and dangerous policies put into place by the Trump administration.

“I will introduce an immigration bill immediately,” he said in a news conference on Friday.

Although he didn’t go into detail regarding the proposed legislation, he’s previously committed to ending Trump’s ban on immigration from predominantly Muslim nations, and that he wants a path to citizenship for Dreamers, and an increase in guest worker permits to help bring undocumented agricultural workers – many of whom are now considered “essential workers” – out of the shadows.

Biden had already promised an immigration overhaul within the first 100 days of his presidency but this commitment definitely increases the pressure on him and congress to get things done.

Biden also said his justice department will investigate the policy of child separation.

During the same press conference, Biden said that his Justice Department will determine responsibility for the family separation program, which led to more than 2,600 children being taken from caregivers after crossing the U.S. southern border, and whether it was criminal.

“There will be a thorough, thorough investigation of who is responsible, and whether or not the responsibility is criminal,” Biden said. That determination will be made by his attorney general-designate, Merrick Garland, he added.

During the campaign, Biden finally took responsibility for many of his administration’s immigration failures.

Nicknamed the “Deporter in Chief,” Obama deported more immigrants than any other president in U.S. history with over 3 million deportations during his time in office. 

But as part of that administration, Joe Biden is also complicit. That’s why during the campaign he seemed to acknowledge at least some of the pain the duo caused.

“Joe Biden understands the pain felt by every family across the U.S. that has had a loved one removed from the country, including under the Obama-Biden Administration, and he believes we must do better to uphold our laws humanely and preserve the dignity of immigrant families, refugees, and asylum-seekers,” Biden’s immigration plan reads. 

While Obama’s methods pale in comparison to the cruel tactics like family separation, inhumane conditions, and targeted raids, the impact the deportations have had on families is cannot be quantified.

Biden, like any Vice President, is put in the position of having to defend his president, but also himself as the future president. This isn’t a bad thing, Biden must distinguish himself from his predecessor but if the shadow of Obama’s legacy is buying him goodwill, it might be difficult to undermine that administration’s stances.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Stephen And Ayesha Curry Are Donating Thousands of Books To Schools For Christmas

Entertainment

Stephen And Ayesha Curry Are Donating Thousands of Books To Schools For Christmas

Handout / Getty

Hark the herald! Stephen and Ayesha Claus Curry– are here to bring literary joy this season.

The Golden State Warrior and his wife are donating thousands of books to schools around Oakland, California this holiday season in an effort to bring joy to children.

The couple, behind Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation, made the announcement earlier this week.

“We along with our entire team at Eat. Learn. Play. understand the importance of early childhood education, especially when it comes to literacy,” Stephen and Ayesha told People magazine in a recent interview. “Nothing is more basic, more essential, more foundational, or more important to a child’s success in life than the ability to read well. We know there is a lot of work to be done, but with partners like Literati, we’re hopeful that we will be able to make an impact on these children’s lives.”

The Currys’ donations will arrive to schools in boxes that will contain six books.

The packages will include five children’s books and one for adults. All of which come from Stephen Curry’s “Underrated” book club selection.

Along with their thousand book giveaway, the couple’s Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation will donate boxes to students who are learning remotely amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in collaboration with and Literati. Fourteen thousand boxes will go directly to Oakland Unified Schools.

According to people, “The remainder of the donation, which was also made possible through Bay Area investor Aydin Senkut of Felicis Ventures, will be distributed through community partners in the new year.”

Speaking about their own experiences of teaching their children during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Stephen and Ayesha (who are parents to Canon W. Jack, 2, Ryan Carson, 5, and Riley, 8) told People that they’ve been hard work attempting to keep their children busy and learning.

“My oldest is pretty disciplined so that’s been easy, but our 5-year-old has a little trouble staying engaged for an extended period of time,” Ayesha, host of ABC’s new show “Family Food Fight,” explained.

Ayesha says she has found that taking part in “some kind of physical activity right before class starts” helps her daughter Ryan “to focus the mind and get some of the wiggles out, and periodic ‘dance breaks’ between lessons.”

“We also added resistance workout bands to the legs of her chair, which give her something to do if she gets antsy during a long Zoom session,” Stephen added.

“Luckily for me, Stephen has really stepped in with education and their schooling. And I’m okay with that because I birthed them so now [he] can birth and nurture their education,” Ayesha joked in a recent episode of “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com