California DREAM applicants in decline, fear of deportation

International Community College students studying on their break from class. (Pixabay/Lariat)

International Community College students studying on their break from class. (Pixabay/Lariat)

In an interview on NBC news television show “Meet the Press” Chuck Todd questions President Donald Trump about California DREAM Act reform.

“You’ll rescind the DREAM Act – executive order for DACA?” Todd said. “You’re going to split up families? You’re going to deport children

“Chuck, no, no. We’re going to keep the families together,” Trump said. “We have to keep the families together, but they have to go.”

In the later part of February, democrats gathered in Sacramento to discuss the DREAM Act, which stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, and urged undocumented high school and community college students to apply for it.

The DREAM Act, passed by Governor Jerry Brown a few years ago, are a set of state laws that allows children who were brought into the United States under the age of 16 the chance to apply for financial aid. These students don’t need to show any proof of visas or documentation if they met in-state school requirements and maintained a respectable GPA throughout their high school career.

“Toward a California that invests in educational opportunity, fosters an active, effective citizenry, and provides a higher quality of social and economic life for its citizens,” said the California Student Aid Commission, “Making education beyond high school financially accessible to all Californians.”

Given the current political climate and comments by President Trump, many California lawmakers aren’t too optimistic current applicants joining the effort for fear of deportation.

Under the Brown administration, legislation was re-drafted into two separate bills named AB 130 and AB 131. AB 130 gives undocumented students access to an estimated $88 million in private financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants. AB 131, allows undocumented high school students who meet criteria for in-state tuition to apply for financial aid.

Under AB 131, students who meet the requirements are “eligible to apply for and participate in all student financial aid programs administered by the State of California to the full extent permitted by federal law,” Los Angeles City Councilmember Gilbert Cedillo said in Assembly Bill No. 131.

Many argue that there are key flaws to these bills that shake the foundation for further assistance. Many argue the risk is not worth the reward, especially for the state of California. Tuition increases and financial stress may create a long-term burden for California Community Colleges and Universities alike. And even with state-funded access to higher education, undocumented students are still not eligible to work legally in the U.S.

Other cons of this legislation include the belief that more money is placed on taxpayers. Many also believe there will be an influx of illegal immigrants, rise in unemployment, increase in overpopulation, and depressing government resources. There will be a larger amount of people utilizing limited resources provided by the state and federal governments. Health care, education, and social security funds may be diminished since these individuals do not pay taxes, and the ones that do, have a smaller penalty.

But, in an article published by the National Immigration Law Center  in regards to immigrant amnesty, “The DREAM Act is not an amnesty: The DREAM Act is not a giveaway to undocumented youth, even those who have lived here all of their lives,” the NILC said, “Rather, it creates a well-defined process to legalize only those who grew up here and who earn status by staying in school and maintaining good moral character.”