Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Diary: DREAMer Driven to Despondence

Today I have been thinking about Joaquin Luna, the young man from Mission Texas who committed suicide.  He was a DREAMer -a young person living in the U.S. without a VISA -  he was brought to the U.S. by his family as a small child.

Joaquin was despondent because there was no way to go to college. He saw no way out. Knowing about Joaquin makes me wonder about the thousands of DREAMers in the U.S.  How do they feel about the limitations placed on them because of this lack of a VISA.  Believe me they would stand in line in a minute if they could - but the truth is that there is no line.  For most, there is no way for they to regularize.

These past few days I have been wondering about all the lost DREAMers who used to attend the University of Houston (and all the other Texas State colleges and universities)- who can no longer study because the money provided them by the State of Texas is no longer there.  A few years ago, through the hard work of a number of Texas Legislators, the state put together a fund to assist DREAMers with their tuition.  In the 2009-2010 academic year there were over 500 recipients of this money at UH.  The Texas budget shortfall ended all of this.  One young man who wanted to be a doctor is now at a local community college.  Another former student of mine - a fine photographer - is no longer studying. They were both excellent students.

While the media beat up Rick Perry for signing a bill granting in-state tuition for DREAMers in Texas - the reality is that most people think its a fair idea.  There are just a few that really hate.  The problem is that the haters scream the loudest..

How many DREAMers see things like the sign proudly displayed at the front door of the Soup Plantation near Upland California that says "WE USE E-VERIFY" (in other words we call ICE on undocumented immigrants) - or the video showing Congressman Mo Brooks from Alabama saying he will do everything but shoot undocumented immigrants. What can these terrible things do to a young impressionable mind?


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