Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Dream Act in to law this morning, and I think it was a step taken in the right direction.
One of the first stories I wrote during my first semester on staff for El Vaquero was about AB540 students, and one of the students I spoke to, David Garcia, told me a pretty compelling story. He lived in Canoga Park at the time, and it took him three hours on three different buses to get to Glendale College.
The students I spoke with for the story were at a booth on campus, putting themselves out there. I wondered if they were at all concerned with the fact that they could face some serious repercussions for putting themselves out in public like that. Garcia said there was a little bit of fear, “But we’re out here letting you know that we exist and that we have needs and that there is a type of oppression that we have trouble with.”
Most AB540 students are brought across the border when they’re still children, when they don’t really have any choice but to go with their parents. So for them, this is all they know. Then a sophomore, Leticia Lopez said in 2009 that she’s been in California since she was 1 year old.
“I’ve been here since I was one year old. I practically grew up here, so I don’t know any other place,” she said.
Without status, AB540 students can’t really do much after graduating from college. They might have a degree, but can’t get jobs because they’re not here legally.
There are promising undocumented students who, with the Dream Act now law, will contribute to American society. They’ve lived here their whole lives, gone to school here, established lives and friends here, and it wouldn’t be easy for them if they were forced to go to a country they know little, if nothing, about.
Kudos to Gov. Brown for singing the act into legislation today. It’s going to be a big help to so many of the AB540 students who invest time into their studies and are determined to better their lives.