By Courtney Sims |Staff Writer|
Twelve Immigrant Youth Coalition (IYC) protestors were arrested on Jan. 24, outside of City Hall in San Bernardino during a sit-in called “Undocumented and Unafraid.” Of the 12 arrested, 10 may face deportation.
Protestors sat-in in front of the Department of Homeland Security’s field office and Downtown City Hall to protest the treatment of undocumented residents.
“No papers, no fear. Immigrants are marching here,” chanted group members.
Other hot button issues included the Secure Communities program, in which the FBI automatically sends fingerprints to
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to check against its immigration databases to prioritize the removal of criminal aliens, those who pose a threat to public safety, and repeat immigration violators, according to ICE.
“The Immigrant Youth Coalition is an organization led by undocumented youth, immigrants and students to fight for immigrant rights, education and against criminalization,” as stated on the IYC website.
Formerly known as the Inland Empire Dream Team, the IYC provides a service for not only students who want to go to college but immigrants that are facing deportation or have experienced criminalization because of their illegal status.
The IYC is pushing to mobilize the youth into political action. One such step was taken last year when they pushed for The Dream Act.
The Dream Act (AB 130) which calls for California universities to allow qualifying students, regardless of citizenship status, to attend.
Many students at CSUSB worry about how the Dream Act will affect their education and future success in this country.
“Tell me when [immigrants] start paying taxes,” said student Renee Barlin. “[Immigrants] have welfare and other social programs sewed up and now you want to give them an education? When they’re here illegally? Give me a break.”
[EDIT:] It would be important to note that illegal immigrants (mostly their children) cost the state a substantial amount of money. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, roughly 190,000 children of illegal immigrants receive welfare checks totaling in $500 million. Figures supplied by the LA Times in 2009 also approximate that 19,000 illegal immigrants were incarcerated in state prisons totaling $970 million in costs for that fiscal year.
Children of illegal immigrants are also allowed to attend the K-12 public school system which are paid with taxes. Illegal immigrants are not employed legally, which means they are more likely to not pay income taxes due to the government being unaware of their employment.
Other students say they are completely supportive of their right to pursue an education, sympathizing because they know just how hard it is not having an education.
Students like Irving Alonso, a descendant of an illegal immigrant, knows just how lucky he is to have the opportunity to go to college.
He feels the Dream Act is a step in the right direction.
“Yeah, immigrants should have the right to go to college. It’s not their fault where they came from, they can’t control it.
Education is a part of the American Dream,” said Alonso. “It was hard for my parents trying to find work or having to work two jobs to make ends meet.”
The two extreme sides of this debate over illegal and legal pursuits of education might be able to find a middle ground.
Especially when taking the future of California’s budget into account, there needs to be a final agreement.
“Immigrants who obtain their college degree will eventually become tax paying residents,” said Prince Thompson, student.
AB 131, the second portion of the Dream Act, will allow undocumented students to receive state funding to attend colleges and universities and is currently awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature.
For more information on the IYC and their cause, you can visit their Facebook page.
according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.