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.  

Pages