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  1. California Dream Act Signed into Law On October 9, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Dream Act into law.

    The law will permit certain undocumented students who have graduated from high school and are attending public universities in California to qualify for state financial aid.

    California is one of about a dozen states to allow undocumented students to qualify to pay in-state tuition. With the signing of the DREAM Act, California joins Texas and New Mexico in permitting these students to obtain state-funded financial aid.

    The new law will affect only a fraction of one percent of all students attending the University of California, the California State Universities and the California Community Colleges. The California Department of Finance estimates that the new law will result in the expenditure of an additional $14.5 million in CalGrants to 2,500 university students. If this seems like a lot of money, consider that this amounts to just 1% of the $1.4 billion annual funding for CalGrants.

    Given California's budget crisis, the amount of funding for education has been cut dramatically. The tuition at public universities has skyrocketed since I received a B.A. and a law degree from UCLA. It is now virtually impossible for many students to attend public universities in California without CalGrants.

    Yet, anti-immigrant groups have already started criticizing the new law. A spokesperson for the anti-immigrant Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform characterized the new law as a "reckless use of taxpayer" money.

    I disagree. Why should the State of California finance a student's primary and secondary education for 12 years only to make it impossible for him or her to attend a public university? I have met many of the DREAM Act students at my alma mater UCLA. Most were not even informed of their undocumented status by their parents until they applied for publicly-funded loans and scholarships. It makes no sense whatsoever to deprive them of the opportunity to gain a decent education and contribute to society.

    This tiny amount of money will help these students become productive members of society.

    Now, if we could only get the DREAM Act passed on the national level.

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    Updated 12-02-2013 at 01:47 PM by CShusterman

  2. Dirty Trick Candidate Drops Out of Race Against Pearce

    by , 10-09-2011 at 06:36 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Oh what a sordid tale. Anti-immigrant state senator Russell Pearce is facing a recall election and has a maintream Republican candidate opposing him. Worried that the opponent was going to get a big Hispanic vote, his allies recruited a Hispanic woman to run as a way to ciphon off those voters. After a judge found that the campaign of Olivia Cortes was effectively a dirty trick, Ms. Cortes, who apparently also was duped into believing those who recruited her were sincere, has now dropped out of the race. Now Senator Pearce must actually win a fair fight. That's sounding like a pretty tough task at this point.
  3. First Immigrant Arrested in Alabama Turns Out to Be Legal

    by , 10-09-2011 at 06:25 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
  4. Breaking: Justice Department Asks Appeals Court to Block Alabama Immigration Law

    by , 10-07-2011 at 09:13 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    From the AP:

    The federal government asked an appeals court Friday to halt the Alabama immigration law considered by many the toughest in the U.S., saying it could have dire diplomatic consequences abroad, invites discrimination and merely forces illegal immigrants into neighboring states.
    The motion, filed in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, claimed Alabama's new law is "highly likely to expose persons lawfully in the United States, including school children, to new difficulties in routine dealings."

    The District Court judge's ruling was pretty surprising so I'd be surprised if the 11th Circuit ignores the request.
  5. Report: Immigration detention costs U.S. taxpayers over $2 billion each year

    by , 10-06-2011 at 10:40 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Human Rights First (HRF) has issued a report entitled Jails and Jumpsuits - Transforming the U.S. Immigration Detention System--A Two-Year Review.  The purpose of the investigation was to "review the progress of DHS and ICE in transforming the U.S. immigration detention system away from its reliance on jails and jail-like facilities to a system with conditions more appropriate for civil immigration law detainees."
    HRF visited 17 ICE authorized detention facilities holding 10,000 of the 33,400 total ICE beds; interviewed government officials, legal service providers, and former immigration detainees; and reviewed existing government data on the U.S. immigration detention system. They also interviewed a range of former prison wardens, corrections officials, and other experts on correctional systems.  
    The primary findings of the report are as follows:

    Asylum seekers and other immigrants are still overwhelmingly held in jails and jail-like facilities;
    Immigration detention costs U.S. taxpayers over $2 billion each year;
    ICE continues to rely on detention standards modeled on correctional standards;
    ICE has taken some steps toward less penal detention conditions, but only a small portion of detainees will see change;
    ICE has not expanded cost-effective alternatives to detention nationwide, and asylum seekers and other immigration detainees continue to be detained unnecessarily, and at substantial cost, due to lack of effective release procedures; and
    Detained asylum seekers and other immigrants do not have adequate access to legal assistance and fair procedures, particularly in isolated detention facilities.

    Click here to read the full report.
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