dream act

Courtesy of The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders

The first graduating class at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders receives their diplomas this Saturday.

Among the graduates is 17-year-old Ana González, who was the subject of an Austin American-Statesman story profiling the school’s first grads.

Ann Choi for KUT News

A UT student organization held a ceremony today for undocumented students who will graduate with their peers this weekend.

Last year, undocumented students became eligible to apply for a two year-long work permit that would protect them from deportation through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. However, the undocumented graduates said the policy protects only the students –not their families – and therefore, it’s not a permanent solution.

One of the big questions that arose out of the November general election is how Republicans would pivot to close the astonishing gap in the Latino vote.

Hispanics voted for President Obama instead of Gov. Mitt Romney by a 71-to-27 percent margin. That kind of lopsided result immeditately changed the minds of many Republicans on immigration reform.

It's been more than a month since the government began accepting requests for its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama administration's policy for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Hundreds of thousands of people are eligible for the program. So far, only 82,000 have applied.

Carlos Martinez is one of the 29 people who have actually gotten deferrals. It means that he won't be deported, and that he can get a work permit. Martinez applied for the deferred action program the first day.

Antonio Villaraigosa / Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Benita Veliz, a 27-year-old San Antonio woman whose parents brought her into the country on a short-term tourist visa nearly two decades years ago, became the first undocumented person to address the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night.

Veliz, who graduated from high school at age 16 as valedictorian and double-majored at St. Mary’s University on a full academic scholarship, was nearly deported to Mexico after being pulled over in 2009 for a traffic infraction.

The case was eventually dropped in 2011. But Veliz, who identifies herself as an American and has hardly any connection to Mexico, has become the poster child for a generation of young immigrants rooting for the DREAM Act, proposed legislation that would provide them a path to citizenship.  

KUT News

Program To Help Young Undocumented Immigrants Begins

An Obama administration executive order takes effect today that provides some protection from deportation for young undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria. The order is seen as something of a work around by the administration after Congress failed to pass the so-called DREAM Act earlier this year.

Early indications suggest President Obama has a majority of voters on his side with his decision to defer deportation proceedings for young illegal immigrants who meet certain conditions.

President Obama's decision to stop deporting young, otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants could help rebuild his support among electorally important Latinos after 18 months of futile efforts, some activists said Friday.

"There is overwhelming support for the protection of these children, as there is in the rest of the country. I think this could have an energizing effect on Latino voters," says Clarissa Martinez del Castro, director of immigration and national campaigns for National Council of La Raza.

Photo courtesy makedreamsrealityscholarship.webs.com

As college-bound high school seniors graduate this month, many of them will have to worry about how they’re going to pay for their education.

But for one Manor, Texas student, her senior year has focused instead on helping to pay for someone else to go to school, by creating a scholarship for a fellow student from Manor – an undocumented student.

Make DREAMs Reality is a campaign created by Audrey Vivar, a senior at Manor New Technology High School. Vivar is offering a $500 scholarship for a Manor graduate who wants to go on to college, no social security number required.

Photo by Mario Jacinto for KUT News

As part of a national day of action, undocumented students rallied on the University of Texas campus yesterday in support of the DREAM act.

Students United for the Dream Act called for rallies across the country on Thursday, to urge for passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors act, which provides undocumented youth a path to legal citizenship in the United States.

Undocumented youth from Austin and San Antonio, joined by members of the University Democrats, gathered and spoke on the lawn near the LBJ library at UT yesterday. KUT News captured audio from the event's speakers, embedded above.

Tuition Rule Change for Undocumented Immigrants   

Texas public colleges, universities, and community colleges will now be required to pressure undocumented immigrants receiving in-state tuition. Colleges will have to tell students every year to contact federal authorities about their legal status. That’s part of a rule change the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board passed unanimously at a board meeting this morning.

Image courtesy Kevin Dooley http://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/

Texas has a large share of students with no legal immigration status in the US. Many of them come to this country with their parents, and grow up learning English and assimilating to American culture. The Texas Comptroller estimated that about 3 percent of students are undocumented immigrants.

DREAM Act rally at University of Texas at Austin
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Undocumented immigrant students attending the University of Texas at Austin took the risky step of coming out before news cameras today to announce their status and call for swift passage of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act).

The DREAM Act would provide a six-year conditional path to citizenship for young people who qualify. They would need to complete a college degree or perform two years of military service.