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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chabot Students Rally in Defense of Immigration Bill

'I SHOULD HAVE THE SAME OPPORTUNITY AS ANYONE ELSE. I AM AMERICAN'

Chabot College students urge Congress Wednesday in Hayward to pass the immigration bill known as the DREAM Act (PHOTO Steven Tavares/EBC) 
By Steven Tavares

Karina Lara does not remember when she first arrived in the United States. She was only five months old, she says when her parents crossed the border from Mexico. Lara is one of an estimated 550,000 undocumented students in the California alone. The 20-year-old Chabot College student and others Wednesday afternoon called on Congress to pass the controversial DREAM Act, which allows a path to citizenship for undocumented students over the age of 16 and with a high school diploma.

The legislation, languishing within a lame-duck session of the House, has been called "backdoor amnesty" by some Republicans and threatens to breed disenchantment among Latinos towards both parties if not enacted. Republicans leaders have vowed to block all legislation until the Bush tax cuts are extended, but congressional Democrats are also unsure the act will even come up for a vote before the GOP takeover the majority in January.

The bill, known as the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act would allow undocumented students who came to the U.S. as children and lived in this country for five consecutive years a chance to become citizens. Provisions of the act also include earning a high school diploma or equivalent, maintaining a clean criminal record and attending college or the military for a minimum of two years.
It was not their decision to come to this country, but now they want a better opportunity--a level playing field. -Hayward Councilman Francisco Zermeno
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Much of the passion from students like Lara is a desire to give back to the only country they have ever known. "I should have the same opportunity as anyone else," she said. "I am an American."

Lara says she is "tormented" by the specter of being pulled over by law enforcement and possibly deported to a country completely foreign to her. "I'm going to school because I believe I can do something in my life," she told students Wednesday during a rally at Chabot College. "We're not out there doing drugs or anything. We want to be a benefit for this country," she added. "I want to be able to pay my taxes."

Hayward Councilman
 Francisco Zermeno
The argument undocumented students with a yearning to contribute to society are a benefit, not a excuse to broaden immigration law as some conservatives contend, was also voiced by Hayward City Councilman Francisco Zermeno. "They are not going to hurt anyone," said Zermeno, who is also a Spanish language instructor at Chabot College. "This is not going to help a gang member who is making trouble. It was not their decision to come to this country, but now they want a better opportunity--a level playing field."

Zermeno calls the potential brain drain of foreign-born students a "lost generation" along with other groups that simply cannot afford higher education. "We have a segment of the population that can't afford to go to college," he said. "This is something we cannot allow."

While the University of California and CSU systems have repeatedly raised tuition over the past decade, the cost of community colleges remain relatively affordable. The cost-per-unit at Chabot College, for example, is $26 for in-state students, but rises significantly for international students. America Salazar, who works at the college's counseling department says its quite common to run across prospective students who are undocumented. "They're scared," she said when it comes to their inability to produce a social security number. Salazar says she is the opposite of people like Lara. She was born in the U.S., but grew up in Mexico. "I'm proud of them," she says. "Sometimes, I wish I was like them."

14 comments :

Amen! I know quite a few American citizens who don't deserve to be as much as some of these students. Hint. Hint. Manuel.

To Mr. Hayward, Councilman Francisco Zermeno, I say this...fine, so long as when they are an adult, 18, they get in line and become a proud citizen of the country that will aide them. But if an adult, again 18 years old, is not willing to become a Citizen, I see no point in aiding them before a natural-born citizen. My parents, who did not make a lot of money when they worked, earned to much for any of us to get decent financial aide...I will forever judge those that have a hand-out when my own hand wasn't helped. Thats right, I said it...apparently I'm an asshole for thinking we give way to much to those who don't give enough in return. I dont give a rats ass if your parents brought you here illegally (wait, I do), a college student can be one better and do it legally.

The nanny state, the welfare state...if it were a productive state, would make Zimbabwe the richest country in the world.

Screw these low-life's who come into this country illegally. You're no damn American. You piss on this nation, it's customs, it's laws and it's flag. Then you want everyone to kiss your @$$.
Manuel

After 9/11 we have given away some of our best foreign talent inthe tech industry by limiting working visas. Zermeño is right, this will be a lost generation of minds for this country and places like Mexico where these US trained minds won't be able to fill their potential in that third world economy.

Grow some balls, Pelosi. Get this done!

1ST OFF, MANUEL YOUR A SORRY LOSER N WHOEVER AGREES WITH HIM TOO...."IMMIGRANTS" DO A LOT FOR THIS COUNTRY A LOT OF STUFF SORRY PEOPLE LIKE U AREN'T WILLING TO DO... THESE PEOPLE ARE ASKING FOR AN OPPORTUNITY THEY DESERVE ONE TOO THEY ARE NOT HURTING ANYONE, N THEY SURE AREN'T ASKING ANYONE TO KISS THEIR ASS THE WAY UR SORRY AS SAYS MANUEL.. PUT YOURSELVES IN THEIR SHOES, ALL THEY'RE ASKING FOR IS A CHANCE TO BETTER THEMSELVES TO BE SUCCESSFUL THEIR HUMANS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE STOP BEING UNFAIR TREATING THEM LIKE THEIR WORTHLESS BECAUSE THEIR REALLY NOT, THEY ARE WONDERFUL N TALENTED STUDENTS WHO DESERVE THIS CHANCE.

I have to say I've never received more retweets and comments from an article than this one. They seemed to be coming from all over the country and are entirely positive. There must be a badge of honor in using the term "Dream Act-eligible" because it's on almost every Twitter message. One woman use says she is undocumented and once attended Chabot and is now attending George Washington Univ. for a degree. Many of the other seem to applauding Chabot for the rally. Too bad it wasn't more heavily advertised. Those there were quite fervent in the support for the act.

This is laughable, there ARE NOT floods of high tech workers coming in from Mexico, these are people who either they or their kids end up on welfare, flood our schools, and suck up our taxes with since they are social program parasites. They refuse to learn English coherently, high have drop out rates, gang membership. When I came to this country I learned English, don't complain and sure as hell don't expect things from society.

If these illegals are so talented then why do they not go back to Mexico and make that country civilized instead of the backwards swamp it is has been historically.
Manuel

Manuel read the legislation, these are kids whose parents brought them to the US, they did not come here on their own to "suck up out taxes "
In order to qualify they need to be high school graduates(something you most likely failed to do) and have at least 2 years of college.
In other words be contributing members of society.
You are such an ignorant fool it is embarrassing to read your rants here.

Nicky, good of you to share why you are such a jerk, deprived of a hand out because your folks made too much and your academic skills were insufficient to qualify you for a free ride. You are quite the hater now, huh. Mel

Manuel, there are more than two countries in the world. The Dream Act isn't only for Mexicans. There ARE floods of high tech workers coming from India and China and other Anglo countries, which I'm sure would be okay since an illegal white alien doesn't commit crimes like those dark ones, right?

smcgaels; Chinese and Sub-Continent Indians ae not Anglo, but Sub-Con Inds are anthropologically classified as caucasians, while Chinese are of course Asiatic.
Manuel

Well Manuel i hope your not Mexican or because you would be a shame when a Latin name if you want to sit there and talk stuff first change your name!! and your a pathetic person and ignorant. I can tell that all you are is about yourself!! If you don't want us illegal people where why don't you and your Americans people go and be the farm workers that bring all the food to your plate.. You and everyone else that are against the DREAM ACT.. Can get a life see the real picture to all this!! Think to yourself if you were in a positions you would be fight for no against so before all those against start talking about us pissing are your nation look at all those Americans that just live to make this country look bad at least we are trying to get an education and work for this country!! Stopping stupid and think before you speak because everything that you say is just stupid, ignorant, and pathetic..

Above can't even write coherently. Not worthy of my going into a lengthy discussion with someone as mediocre as above.

Manuel

Manuel is Paul Vargas who ran for office many times in San Leandro and lost every time by large margins! When you read his Republican rants, you can see why he's been rejected by San Leandro citizens.

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