Earlier this week Pedro Ramirez, the student body president at Fresno State University, was ousted as being an undocumented immigrant by an anonymous tip. Ramirez was brought to the United States by his parents at the age of 3. He has stated that he did not learn about his undocumented status until he attempted to apply for scholarships as a senior in high school. Despite his legal status, Ramirez was enrolled at Fresno State where he ran for student body president last spring. Although he did not declare himself undocumented during the race, he did inform school official and denied the $9,000 salary that is offered for the position. Despite the fact that the California Supreme Court newly preserved a law (AB540) that allows undocumented immigrants to pay the less expensive in-state tuition, CSU and UC tuition rates continue to increase at alarming rates which makes it that much more difficult for an undocumented student to afford college.
This is only one of several recent events that have placed a greater focus on the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act which is a proposed bill that would grant citizenship to undocumented immigrants who came to America before the age of 16, attended 3 years of high school and graduated (or obtained a G.E.D.) in the US and complete at least two years of college or serve two years in the US Military.
On Tuesday, Barack Obama announced at a meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he wants action to be taken so that Congress can pass the bill by December 31. Then, on Wednesday Harry Reid vowed to bring the DREAM Act to a Senate vote during this upcoming lame-duck session in a tweet stating, "I will move the DREAM Act as a standalone bill in the lame duck. It's good for the economy & Pentagon says good for natl security."
Still asking why comprehensive immigration reform is relevant for Feminists? For one reason, The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health has declared that undocumented immigrant women are greatly affected by our current immigration policy. Undocumented women are more prone to work in positions that are underpaid, harmful to a person's health, and lack any benefits. These women do not have health insurance and are "less likely to receive adequate reproductive health care, including cervical and breast cancer screening and treatment, family planning services, HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, accurate sex education and culturally and linguistically competent services." The passage of the DREAM Act and an overall comprehensive immigration bill will help immigrant women protect their reproductive rights through an education that will be beneficial for them after they've been granted citizenship.
Add your name to the sign-on letter and show that we will not stop fighting until the DREAM Act is sent to the President's desk:
Check back for the latest news on The DREAM Act and immigration reform.
Photo courtesy of flickr.com/DreamActivist