Syracuse Undocumented Rising raises awareness of DREAM Act’s implications

Courtesy of SU Undocumented Rising

Syracuse University students gathered to march in support of the N.Y. Dream Act in November.

In mid-November, Daisy Becerra marched with around ten other students to State Senator David Valesky’s office to encourage him to support the New York DREAM Act.

The students, several of which are undocumented, walked through the cold and snow, in the hopes that Valesky would support the legislation. The legislation would give students who are undocumented immigrants access to financial aid.

“It was the first snow of the season, our signs were drenched by the time we got there, and we were freezing, absolutely freezing,” said Becerra, a senior magazine journalism major at Syracuse University. “But for me, it was worth every second.”

The N.Y. DREAM Act would allow undocumented students who meet in-state tuition requirements to access state financial aid and scholarships, according to the N.Y. DREAM Act’s website. Students who have graduated high school but are undocumented are ineligible to receive federal tuition assistance, according to the website. If the DREAM Act is passed, all of that could change.

An undocumented student is defined as a foreign national who either entered the United States without inspection or with fraudulent documents, or someone who entered legally as a nonimmigrant but then stayed in the U.S. without authorization.

One group at SU, Syracuse Undocumented Rising, is attempting to promote awareness about the obstacles undocumented students face, and to emphasize their importance.

The organization’s webpage said one of the group’s goals is to give undocumented students a space to express their needs.

“Many undocumented students lose motivation to pursue higher education because of the financial hurdles,” Becerra said.

She added that New York has a reputation for welcoming immigrants, but passing the DREAM Act would truly show it cares about providing for those citizens.

The legislation has already been passed by the N.Y. State Assembly, but has had trouble in the state Senate. Senate co-leader Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) recently spoke out in support of the bill.

Although the bill does have Klein’s support, John Hanley, a post-doctoral fellow in political science at SU, said in an email that he doesn’t believe there are enough votes in the state Senate to get the bill to the governor’s desk.

He said that Gov. Cuomo hasn’t given the legislation his full support, adding that it’s important for Cuomo to maintain his current approval numbers in upstate N.Y.

Hanley said one reason politicians might be hesitant to support the DREAM Act is because of the larger issues it’s tied to.

“There’s a general risk in linking education to a polarized issue like immigration,” Hanley said.

He added that there are even fewer benefits for politicians upstate to support the DREAM Act because there are far fewer undocumented students who live in that area.

“I think if you get a national resolution of the immigration situation, it’ll be much easier to then take action at the state level,” Hanley said. “Politicians want to be able to explain their activity, and if they can say that they’re just helping young people who are already on the path to citizenship, that’s much better.”

For students like Becerra, the legislation passing would afford them a luxury their family members may not have had.

Becerra said her sister thought she wouldn’t be able to attend college because of the high cost. Eventually, Becerra said her sister was able to go to school and get a job.

“When I was marching in the freezing snow, I sent her a picture,” Becerra said. “She saved it, and it makes me incredibly happy that I’ve made her proud.”

Until progress is made with the DREAM Act in N.Y. state, Becerra said Syracuse Undocumented Rising will continue to work as hard as it has been the past couple of months to encourage change.

Said Becerra: “The fact that the organization is still working hard for change even though they’ve had to face backlash is a success.”

  • Bostonway

    Let me get this straight… the CITIZEN tax-payers and LEGAL residence are expected to give state tuition cost-breaks to families that are in the US illegally. This benefit on top of likely welfare payments (housing, foodstamps, medical, etc). Yet, I’m charged FULL tuition for my kid attending being out-of-state?! This is an example of the bizarre and damaging logic in our govenment and society today.

  • Studentactivist

    These students who you say “broke the law” are students who were brought to America by their parents when they were as little as 4 years old. They have lived in America their whole lives and have worked as hard as you or I if not harder. According to you, despite their handwork and potential to succeed, we should deny them access to higher education because of mistake their parents made which they had NO control over.

    Also, Thank you for bringing up the point about the CITIZEN tax payers money. When we deny education to undocumented students, we are inevitably forcing them into a path of unemployment and poverty. Consequently, these same people when unemployed are forced into taking government assistance through social program. Hmm guess who pays for their social benefits?? Yup you guessed it right. This come right out of the tax-payers pocket.

    On the other hand, if we invest in higher education for these undocumented students, we create people who contribute substantially more in taxes due to higher incomes from their college degree.

    So lets get this straight. You would rather pay for government assistance for people who dropped out of high school and have no means of being productive in our society than people who have potential to become successful and contribute to our economy in taxes?

    I think it is safe to say that the bizarre and damaging logic here is coming from people like you who refuse to open their minds and help people who come from backgrounds different than yourself.

  • Bostonway

    Nice spin. 1) The issue is regarding in-state tuition (not denying education) The rest of us who’s families are here LEGALLY (yet, out of state) must pay the higher amount, yet the kids of illegals (broke the law) do not! Yea, nice logic. 2) As you say, let’s get this straight…the parents of anchor-kids should NOT be here. Hence the kids should not be either. So, we should not pay the welfare-load for the kids, born in the US or not. This is a huge magnet for other illegals (which I’m sure you are fine with). 3) Your whole premise is… the gov’t is a cradle to grave support system. We must do so! While the rest of us pay for YOUR free-stuff (not to mention have jobs, speak English, obey the law, save our money, and are not on welfare). By the way, did I mention 55,000+ illegals in our federal prisons convicted of violent crimes (these are the ones caught).

  • LaVozdelSilencio

    Well it is, what it is then, I am undocumented and I pay $0.00 to attend Syracuse University because I earned every single penny not through financial aid from the government or from the school, but all through private scholarships. These academic scholarships are the ones your kids could have gotten,but didn’t. I think that’s a perfect example of who really can work hard and stand up for themselves because I don’t see your child commenting on here either. Oh, did I mention that I’m talking about out-of-state tuition too?

  • Bostonway

    You should not be in this country. I don’t care if you work hard… you (and/or your parents) broke the law. You are sucking opportunities and benefits from citizens, and we are paying you for it. You are the perfect example of what is wrong with our (illegal) immigration system, not to mention culture.

  • LaVozdelSilencio

    And what exactly are you going to do about it? Well, other than spend your leisure time commenting on student’s public opinion. People like you make me laugh because at the end of the day I will be receiving the same piece of paper at the end of my four years as your child and as you sit in the audience you might even make a mistake to clap when they call my name. So be careful! Also, did I mention that I already received citizenship and that my parents are immigration attorneys and I might even have the pleasure to have your child work for me in the near future. Have a good day m’am or sir.

  • Bostonway

    You broke the law, hence you are illegal and parasite in this country, (albeit a hard working one). So, how about this idea? Get your degree, pay back all of the free-stuff US citizens have given you, and go back to your 3rd world dirt-bag country and make a difference? Improve things! What? You prefer the US system! Hmmm, looks like you prove me correct…you are a parasite, a selfish one. By the way, your parents are US immigration attorneys and citizens? Yet you are undocumented, hmmm… this doesn’t seem to make sense. Well, all the more reason to obey the law… which you are not.

  • LaVozdelSilencio

    Well at least I’m glad I add some laughter in your apparently bitter life based on your constant comments of hate and unhappiness. I really do hope you won’t die with so much hatred and bitterness in your heart. But you do whatever you need to do to make you fall asleep at night! And yeah you are right I did break the law and I’m still here! Again, what are YOU going to do about it? And yes my parents are US Immigration attorneys because they did exactly what I’m doing now! I will give back to this country just like my parent are doing! And you are right I do need to make a difference in my native country and I will, don’t you worry about that! And no I didn’t need a full ride to Syracuse,which is why I didn’t get financial aid, like I already said I got an academic scholarship not financial need scholarship. There’s a difference! And we were Undocumented at some point and are very proud of it, but last time I check you or your family are also immigrants to this country, or unless you are Native American you didn’t belong in this country either. And you are right, let’s talk about how everyone’s culture is so rich and beautiful and how dry and boring White culture is. And never did I say your child was dumb or didn’t have morals because for all you know, your child could be my friend and you don’t even know it. And I also don’t want to disrespect your child because I don’t know him/her and they haven’t done anything to me. Look, all I got to say is that whether you like it or not, YOU cannot do anything to change the way things are in this country. I mean according to you comment, you hate poor, the gay, the young, the old, like you basically hate everyone, and your making everyone hate you.

  • Bostonway

    ‘Hate and unhappiness’… totally wrong on both counts. Your attempt to discredit, fabricate, and get nasty is typical of liberal / minority spin away from the real issue. And is frankly immature. Why? Because you can’t defend being an illegal (breaking the law) and a parasite. My family has been here since the 1600’s (clue: there were not immigration laws then, hence one could not be illegal like you…didn’t your parents teach you this?), never took welfare, built companies, obey the law, and live in one of the best towns in MA. I can’t do anything about this? Sure I can, I already have. I give money to SU. Hint: there’s a reason your PC hero ‘quota queen Cantor’ is no longer at SU! You have no clue. Finally, show the evidence that I hate the poor, gays, young, old, (you forgot women)? The only person I hate is the one that breaks the law, is a parasite to others, and is proud of it! Pathetic.

  • imadethisaccountbecausebostonw

    After reading many of your comments on students articles, you have truly amazed me. I have never seen anyone so insensitive, racist, rude and downright cruel as you are. Aside from the insanity of many of your viewpoints, you leave me wondering why you don’t have anything better to do than to needlessly troll a college newspaper. For the good of society, I beg you to get a life. Or if you are so determined about voicing your opinions, run for office. I would love to watch you get torn to shreds.
    Good day.

  • Bostonway

    The big one flaw in your rant…I am 100% correct. Happens every time…you must go the ‘rude, cruel, racist’ path (typical liberal) because the truth is on my side. Hmmm, who is breaking the law by being in the US (the illegals), who demands benefits that I pay for (the illegals), who expects in-state tuition (that I cannot get as a citizen), who should not be in this country (the illegals and their kids). Yea, I need to get a life and need better things to do. The law, facts, and rational thinking are on my side. Your side… the race-card, hoards of illegals, and other liberal robots damaging this country (e.g., 50,000+ illegals in our prisons for violent crimes). PS: By the way, chances are good I paid for your tuition as well to SU…assuming you can even graduate. You owe me and others a thanks!

  • bway=assholeway

    Simply by using the word parasite in your earlier posts, I think it is pretty clear that you are racist. There are many less derogatory terms you could have used, but you chose to use parasite.

    Also, it is ironic that you called me a racist when in my comment I provided zero commentary on immigrants. So, using your words, “please quote what I have said that shows I am racist? My actual words, NOT your biased interpretation…let’s see it?”

    I commend you for donating to SU, and regardless of whether your donations have directly effected me, I appreciate you supporting students education.

  • Bostonway

    So, I’m racist because I call people in the country who are illegal (living of the system) parasites? The term seems to fit very well… ‘living off a host for survival at the detriment of that host.’ By the way, consider my heritage…English. If any are in the US and illegal, then they are parasites as well! Now tell us all, how is that being racist? YOU assumed I only meant Mexicans.

    You sure look like a de facto racist…by the simple fact that you are so against (and nasty) about my constant message in virtually ALL my posts that you said you read… that is ‘equal treatment for all (no less no more), and no special treatment based on race or any other category’. And if you are illegal, you should not be here of any nationality. Period! Hence, if you do not agree (which it strongly appears you do not), you are for special treatment based on race, affirmative action (not taking the best candidate), differing standards based on race, etc, etc. This is called institutionalized racism… ‘giving one group special and different treatment based on their race.’ Time to perk up and really look at what I’m saying. By the way, thank you for the comment on donations! I do appreciate that.

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