Friday, December 3, 2010

Stop Campus Racism and Pass the DREAM Act

Earlier this week there were a few changes made to the DREAM Act bill, which included increasing the years of temporary status from 6 to 10, barring DREAMers from health care subsidies, decreasing the age cap from 35 to 30 and removing the section that would punish states for offering in-state tuition. After Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) delayed the bill because of Republicans pledge to block it, it is expected that the DREAM Act will be voted on by the House and Senate sometime next week.

Although the DREAM Act is close to receiving its vote, many people are still uneducated on what the bill will actual do and why it is beneficial (it will reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion over the next 10 years) Because they are unaware, people continue to criticize and stereotype those involved with the DREAM Act and AB540.

Recently I was browsing my campus newspaper, the Santa Monica College Corsair, when I came across an illustration that was published in the Opinion section. The pencil drawing was titled "The Dream Act" (seen above) and included two students who were portrayed as average American students looking at a blatantly Mexican student who was sitting between them and raising his hand. I did not assume the student was Mexican due to physical features but rather I knew he was Mexican because he was illustrated as wearing a sombrero and a poncho.

What accompanied this insensitive and racist photo, was an article that was uneducated about both the Dream Act and AB540. The article's main point was to question why, "Joe from Massachusetts is stuck paying $50,000 to attend UCLA while Jose, here illegally from Guatemala, is paying $20,000 because he immigrated to California when he was 15." It fails to mention that Jose and his immigrant parents would have to live in California and would also have been paying taxes, without any benefits of a tax return, since they first relocated to the United States.

They also complain that immigrant students take a special preference over other students, "If the problem is not the flood of illegal immigrants coming to America, it must then be that they can so easily slip through the cracks to gain special preference over natural born American citizens and the lawful foreigners who completed the arduous process of immigration." As far as I know immigrants take no special preference. Yes, because of AB540, the are able to attend school for the in-state price but they are not eligible for student loans, they cannot apply for scholarships, receive financial aid, or legally apply for a job. If the author is referring to the statistic they used that states there are 400 immigrant students in the UC system (10 campuses) then I'm not sure I would call that preference considering there are about 150,000 students who attend UCs.

This article is just another example of how uneducated people are about AB540 and the DREAM Act. In opposition of this article, several student groups at Santa Monica College--including several Latino groups and the FMLA--will be hosting a march to show the Corsair that we are against a newspaper that would publish an article and illustration like this.

What can you do to support the DREAM?
Call (866) 529-7628 and tell both of your senators and your representatives to vote YES on the “DREAM Act”!

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