Underground Undergrads:UCLA’s Undocumented Immigrants Speak Out

As part of an ongoing series of conversations on international migration, Migration Projects @ Mason is pleased to announce a book talk and DVD presentation of Underground Undergrads: UCLA Undocumented Immigrants Speak OutKent Wong, Director of UCLA’s Center for Labor Research and Education and Mantias Ramos, UCLA graduate and immigration rights activist, will discuss the DREAM Act, an important piece of legislation designed to ensure that all students have access to higher education.  The event will be held on Thursday, November 12, 2009, 1:30-2:30pm at the Johnson Center Cinema at George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus.

Every year tens of thousands of students who have grown up in the United States and graduate from U.S. high schools face uncertain futures due to their undocumented status.  The DREAM Act, bipartisan legislation introduced to Congress in March 2009, seeks to reform current immigration law that keeps the children of undocumented immigrants from gaining legal residency and limits their access to the life-changing opportunity of undergraduate education.  Also known as the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, passage of this legislation would initiate two major shifts in how this population is treated under the law: It would permit students who have grown up in the U.S. to apply for temporary legal status, and to ulitmately secure permanent status and eligibility for citizenship after attending collges or serving in the miliary. The legislation would eliminate penalties incrurred by states that provide in-state tuition regardless of a students’ legal status.

Our speakers wil not only address the significance of the publication of Underground Undergrads, which chronicles the challenges and triumphs of young people striving to achieve an education under teh most desperate circumstances, but will speak to broader questions of immigration reform, including: What are the potential pitfalls of linking miliatary service to acces to legal status?  And how might thte growing concensus about the necessity of providing a path to citizenship for undocumented students be expanded to include the millions of undocumented workers crucial to our economy? Please join us and our speakers engage these and other important issues in a timely and critical discussion.

If you have any questions, please contact Debra Lattanzi Shutika at George Mason University.

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