Campos, Chávez and Zambrano are all undocumented students who are enrolled at Santa Fe Community College. Along with high school student Udell Calzadillas -- 3.7 grade-point average -- they have joined a national movement dubbed "Coming Out of the Shadows."
They are asking the community to support comprehensive immigration reform and the federal Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, known as the Dream Act, which would provide a legal path to citizenship for youth who complete two years in the military or two years at an institution of higher learning, and fulfill certain other requirements.
In May 2011, the Dream Act was re-introduced to Congress by Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois and Democratic Rep. Howard Berman of California. Although the legislation has failed to gain enough support in Congress, several states such as California allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition and to qualify for some state financial aid.
In New Mexico, a student without a Social Security number also can pay in-state tuition.
"I have a dream of becoming somebody in the future, of being the example for my family," said Zambrano, 20. After working in the hospitality industry, he knew he didn't want a future there, he said. So he enrolled at the community college and plans to keep working toward a four-year degree.
"Sometimes I question myself. Should I keep studying? For what? I won't be able to work," Zambrano said. "But I'm still here."
Young adults like him have joined "Coming Out" campaigns in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York to push the campaign's slogan: "Undocumented, Unafraid, Unapologetic." Read more...
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Immigrant Youth Achievement Award Nomination Deadline February 1, 2012.
In a media fueled environment where the label “immigrant” has taken on such negative and hateful qualities, the American Immigration Council works to combat these stereotypes by holding up exemplary youth in our communities as examples of the positive contributions young immigrants are making in our country everyday. The Immigrant Youth Achievement Award recognizes a young immigrant in the United States whose accomplishments are the embodiment of the immigrant spirit and show a commitment to making a positive impact in their community or the world around them.
The Immigrant Youth Achievement Award is presented at the American Immigration Council’s annual Washington, DC Immigrant Achievement Awards each Spring. Past honorees have emigrated from countries such as Ireland, India, Cambodia, China, and Cuba and have made contributions in literature, journalism, music and politics.
In determining the selection of a nominee to receive the American Immigration Council’s Immigrant Youth Achievement Award, the selection committee will use the following criteria:Read more...
Born in the barrio of Carlsbad, California in 1940, Victor Villaseñor was raised on a ranch four miles north in Oceanside. Since his parents were born in Mexico, Villaseñor spoke only Spanish until beginning school. After years of facing language and cultural barriers, heavy discrimination and a reading problem, later diagnosed as dyslexia, Mr. Villaseñor dropped out of high school his junior year and moved to Mexico. There he discovered a wealth of Mexican art, literature, music, that helped him recapture and understand the dignity and richness of his heritage.
Mr. Villaseñor returned to the U.S. at the age of 20. He began to feel the old frustration and rage return as he witnessed again the disregard toward poor and uneducated people and especially toward the Mexicans. Then a chance encounter with James Joyce’s Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man, changed his life. It awakened a desire to confront through literature the problems associated with his cultural heritage that continued to plague him.
After producing nine novels, 65 short stories, and receiving 265 rejections Villaseñor sold his first novel, Macho!, which the Los Angeles Times compared to the best of Steinbeck. This began a journey that would eventually lead to the publication of the national bestseller, Rain of Gold. Published in seven languages and used by thousands of teachers and school systems across the nation as required reading, Rain of Gold tells the story of Mr. Villaseñor’s family, taking the reader from war-torn Mexico during the Revolution to the present day.Read more...
The Seattle Times put a spotlight on Erin Stark, the fifth-grader who won the Community Education Center's 2013 Creative Writing Contest. From the article:
"'There’s just a lot more people than just a basic everyday American,' said Erin, of Bellevue.
"The stories she’s heard inspired a poem titled, 'What Would You Miss About Immigrants If They Didn’t Come to America?,' which she entered in a writing contest sponsored by the American Immigration Council. The contest invites fifth-graders to submit a writing entry based on the theme, 'Why I am Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants.'
"Erin’s poem won first place out of more than 5,000 entries. Her reward is an all-expenses-paid trip to San Francisco, where she will read her winning entry at the council’s annual benefit dinner on June 28."
Hannah Lewis specializes in community development strategies around engaging new immigrants with farming backgrounds in local food systems. She was a program coordinator with the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development at Iowa State University while conducting research for this paper and now works in Des Moines, Iowa, for a national non‐profit working in sustainable agriculture and rural communities.
A recent article in U.S. News and World Report, quoted Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the IPC. The article, titled, "The Republican Party's Impossible Immigration Balancing Act," said:
"When it comes to immigration reform, House Republicans are in an impossible spot: Members are left balancing congressional elections with the GOP's larger 2016 interests, reluctant to hand a Democratic president a victory while hoping to make up ground with the Latino community...
"In order to gain traction with Latino voters, they will have to do more than simply talk about a plan. They will have to enact one, take a comprehensive approach, shed the party's enforcement-only rhetoric and openly consider a path to legalization for the 11 million, an option that many lawmakers have struggled to publicly support. While Republicans nationally need Latino support to win elections, few members from GOP-controlled districts face a high volume of Latino voters back home to put pressure on them. Instead, it's anti-immigration reform activists who pressure sitting members to stay away from anything that resembles legalization for the 11 million.
"The policy solutions to the problem and the political viability of them are potentially miles apart," says Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center, a nonpartisan immigration research group."
Rubén Rumbaut, Ph.D. is professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine. He is the founding chair of the section on international migration of the American Sociological Association and a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Population. He codirects the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study, began in 1991, as well as a large-scale study of Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles. He is the author of more than one hundred scientific papers on immigrants and refugees in the U.S., and coauthor or coeditor of a dozen books. A native of Havana, Cuba, he has a Ph.D. in sociology from Brandeis University.