California Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday signed a bill giving illegal immigrant college students access to state-funded financial aid, the second half of the two-part legislation known as the 'Dream Act.'
The controversial measure, which passed the Democrat-controlled legislature on a party-line vote in September, represents a victory for immigrant-rights activists ahead of the 2012 presidential election.
Library assistant Gilda Ramos says she was stunned the first time Hispanics in her English language class told her that many had been victims of attacks and robberies by marauding gangs of teenagers. "Walking ATMs," is how she describes the workers, who often were robbed on Friday or Saturday night after getting paid from jobs such as dishwashing, construction or landscaping.
"This is a good step but it is a baby step. We, in the immigrant movement have been expecting this at the very minimum from the Obama administration. This does not necessarily mean that the individuals who will get their casses reviewed will not be deported, there are no guarantees. They are going to focus on 300 thousand cases however it is not clear what the bennifits are going to be nor what the process for review is. In addition, the use of the concept of criminalization is not clear in our community. This word is used frequently when we are talking about ‘immigrants’ in general, but ultimately this detrimental concept continues to cause tension and division. From our perspective, what they [DHS] are doing its adding layers to the the definition of criminal, and then choosing specific or lighter sectors of the immigrant community based on these emerging catagories or re-definied levels of criminalization, without really providing any relief to the broken immigration system. Basically creating false expectations as they plan for the 2012 elections."