Tag Archives: DACA

U. of Miami offers DACA students $62K full scholarships

University of Miami (UM) is a private university of 16,848 students in 2015, and the 6th largest employer in Miami-Dade County. In 2017, U.S. News and World Report ranked UM as the 44th best national university in the United States.

Admission to UM is competitive and selective: In 2015, only 37.8% (or 12,625) of 33,416 undergraduate applicants were admitted. Incredibly, the average high school GPA of those admitted was 4.0, i.e., a perfect A grade; the median SAT score was 1300 (out of 1600).

Given the competitiveness of admissions, it is all the more outrageous that University of Miami is offering “Dreamers” — children who illegally entered the U.S. with their illegal alien parents — a full scholarship worth $62,000, as well as lower GPA and SAT standards.

Eduarto Neret reports for Campus Reform, Aug. 31, 2017, that University of Miami’s U Dreamers Program provides scholarships covering 100% of the “demonstrated financial need” of DACA students who reside in Florida, including tuition and fees, room and board, a meal plan, and student health insurance.

UM estimates that the total cost of attendance for an undergraduate student living on campus is slightly more than $66,000, of which at least $62,000 would be covered by the U Dreamers Program.

The Dreamer scholarship is “renewable for up to four academic years or such time [as is] required to complete the baccalaureate degree.”

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an unconstitutional Obama-era policy that protects from deportation illegal immigrants who were brought to the country as children, and also authorizes them to work in the United States.

To qualify for the renewable $62K Dreamers scholarship, one must:

  • Be a Dreamer or DACA.
  • Must have attended an accredited Florida high school or, in the case of transfer students, “a regionally accredited institution in the State of Florida” and “have completed or will soon complete 60 credit hours or more at the time of application.”
  • Freshmen must have a minimum high school GPA of 3.2 and an SAT score of at least 1100 (55th percentile) or ACT score of at least 21; transfer students must maintain a 3.5 college GPA.

The examples of UM students Andrea Cicilia and Natalie Telfeja make clear how discriminatory the university’s U Dreamers Program is against students who are U.S. citizens.

Cicilia told Campus Reform she wasn’t accepted to UM outright nor offered any scholarship money although she had a high school GPA higher than 3.2 and an ACT score of 25:

“It’s disappointing and unfair that UM would give full scholarships to DACA students, especially when they can qualify with a lower GPA and lower test scores than me. Would I qualify for a full scholarship as a citizen with a 3.2 GPA and 21 on the ACT? Probably not.”

Transfer student Natalie Telfeja, who entered UM with a 3.7 GPA, said:

“I consider myself lucky to have the partial scholarship that I have. It’s not fair that an undocumented student with a lower GPA could qualify for a full scholarship over someone like me. They are practically receiving preferential treatment for their immigration status.”

See also:

~Eowyn

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DACA rescinded: Get ready for the drama…”End of life as we know it”

paul quinonez

Paul’s Twitter profile pic. From his Twitter bio, “From the best state in Mexico: Colima.”

Want to be the “best you can be,” Paul? You can start online here.

Surprisingly, there are very few sympathetic comments on the liberal Seattle Times web site.

From Seattle Times: Paúl Quiñonez Figueroa wakes up around 6 a.m. every day, anxious.

“I could literally wake up to the end of DACA,” he said of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which since 2012 has allowed young people brought to this country illegally to live and work here.

As a 22-year-old DACA recipient, the waiting has been killing him. “He should announce it already,” Quiñonez Figueroa said Friday in his Northgate apartment.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions did it for the president. Sessions announced an “orderly, lawful wind-down” of DACA over the next six months. The Department of Homeland Security will accept no new applications.

Current DACA recipients, however, will be allowed to work legally until their two-year permits expire. That gives Quiñonez Figueroa until February 2019.

“Having a few extra months to prepare for the end of life as we know it is not treating us with empathy or with heart,” Quiñonez Figueroa, an activist with Washington Dream Coalition, said immediately after Sessions’ remarks.

And he was infuriated that President Donald Trump, who had pledged to show heart when dealing with Dreamers, “did not have the decency to face us.”

Now, he’s looking toward the congressional debate that Trump and Sessions have set up as they left the fate of DACA recipients to the legislative branch.

Quiñonez Figueroa, who works as a legislative assistant to state Rep. Shelley Kloba D-Kirkland, said he and his peers plan to press members of Congress to vote on a new DREAM Act introduced this year. The bipartisan bill goes further than previous, failed versions; those eligible would include not just young, undocumented immigrants illegal aliens who go to college or serve in the military but also those in the workforce.

Unlike DACA, it would provide a path to citizenship.

Quiñonez Figueroa said, however, “we’re not going to be used as bargaining chips to put down our parents, to put down our friends.”

He was referring to speculation that Trump and some Republicans might try to trade passage of the DREAM Act for items on the president’s agenda less friendly to immigrants: building a wall on the border with Mexico, hiring thousands of new Border Patrol agents and placing new restrictions on legal immigration.

If Congress tacked such addendums onto the DREAM Act, Quiñonez Figueroa said, DACA recipients like him would seek to kill the bill, he said.

His views represent something of an evolution in the Dreamer movement. It has generated tremendous momentum in part because people brought here as kids are often seen as blameless, unlike other immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally.

But some are so uneasy with being in a special category that they no longer want to be called “Dreamers” — a term they feel connotes virtue unique to them. “We’ve moved far beyond that,” Quiñonez Figueroa said.

He and others want the parents who brought them here to have the same protections they do, even while that is a much more controversial notion.

‘Best I could be’

For a long time, Quiñonez Figueroa was angry about being uprooted from his home in a small town in the Mexican state of Colima, about 500 miles due west of Mexico City. He was 7. “I remember my childhood as happy — normal,” he said. “Why did I have to grow up undocumented illegally here?”

Only last year, when he returned to Colima while studying in Mexico for the summer, did he realize the poverty of his hometown, the challenges his cousins faced in getting to college and the dangers of a country beset by drug cartels.

Then, his parents’ decision to reunite the family in the U.S. — where his father had been working construction and was finding return visits increasingly hard because of toughening border security — made more sense.

He remembers the trip in the back seat of a car, eating potato chips and trying to keep his younger brother quiet as they crossed into California, driven by a legal resident. His mother followed a week later, taking a riskier trip through the desert that she never talked about.

Eventually, they made their way to Eastern Washington, where they had extended family. Quiñonez Figueroa mostly grew up there. Tutored by his mom, who had wanted to be a teacher but couldn’t afford the necessary schooling, he was placed in a program for advanced students.

He threw himself into extracurriculars: volunteering as a bilingual interpreter, running cross-country and playing tennis, joining the debate and Spanish clubs.

“I had to be the best I could be,” he said. Otherwise, he wouldn’t get the private scholarships he needed to go to college. Even when DACA came into being right before his last year of high school, and he was deemed eligible, he couldn’t get federal financial aid due to his status.

As the Trump administration has been keen to point out, DACA recipients are still considered undocumented illegal even though the government has granted them permission to work here temporarily.

Accepted by Gonzaga University, Quiñonez Figueroa benefited from Washington’s version of the DREAM Act, approved while he was there, to allow undocumented students illegal aliens to get state financial aid.

He quickly built up his résumé. He interned for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, in Washington, D.C., and got a fellowship to spend a summer at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs.

After school, he worked as an Eastern Washington field director for Sen. Patty Murray’s re-election campaign, and was interested in working for the federal government. But undocumented immigrants illegal aliens are not allowed.

So he turned to local politics. In his job as Rep. Kloba’s assistant, he does everything from running the office budget to helping arrange town-hall meetings.

Not ready to give up

It was in Mexico last summer that Quiñonez Figueroa realized how American he has become. Participating in a program that brought DACA recipients to study side by side with Mexican students, he picked up on subtle but distinct cultural differences, like the way he and his peers would complain about service they found lacking.

“We were called ‘arrogant Americans,’” he recalled.

He nevertheless discovered he could get by in Mexico if he had to. His Spanish was passable. There were opportunities for college-educated professionals like him.

Staring down the possibility of a forced repatriation, he said it wouldn’t be end of the world, but added: “I’m not ready to give up.”

His game plan: go to graduate school and hope that by the time he’s done Congress will have passed a law allowing him to stay.

DCG

Trump likely to rescind Obama “Dreamer” program

illegal

Works for me.

From NY Post: U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to rescind an Obama-era policy that protects nearly 600,000 immigrants who entered the country illegally as children and are known as “Dreamers,” according to media reports on Friday.

Trump’s decision on whether to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, policy could be announced as early as next week, reported ABC News, citing multiple sources.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed the program with senior White House officials on Thursday, according to an administration official.

Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan denied reports that the department had made any recommendations on DACA to the White House. “There have been continuing discussions about DACA but nothing has been determined,” Lapan told Reuters.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Friday that the program continues to be under review. A White House spokesperson told Reuters that only Congress can legislate a permanent solution for the plight of children who are currently protected from deportation by DACA.

Trump had pledged on the election campaign trail to scrap all of former President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration, including DACA.

Immigrant advocates reacted to the news with a flurry of statements, promising to defend the program with protest and legal action.

“Immigrant youth fought to create the DACA program and we will fight like hell to defend it,” said Greisa Martinez Rosas, Advocacy Director and DACA-beneficiary of United We Dream said in a statement.

Civil rights groups said ending the program could increase racial divisions in the country in the wake of the recent violence in Charlottesville.

Ten Republican state attorneys general in June urged the Trump administration to rescind the DACA program, while noting that the government did not have to revoke permits that had already been issued. If the federal government did not withdraw DACA by Sept. 5, the attorneys general said they would file a legal challenge to the program in a Texas federal court.

The 10 who signed the letter represent Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

A larger coalition of 26 Republican attorneys general had challenged the Obama-era policy covering illegal immigrant parents, known as DAPA, that had been blocked by the courts before it took effect. The Department of Homeland Security rescinded that policy earlier this year.

DCG

DREAMer accused of brutally raping woman in Washington state

messed up

This happened in the sanctuary city of Burien.

From Fox News: A 23-year-old DREAMer in Washington state is accused of brutally raping a 19-year-old woman in her apartment complex’s gym and leaving her with severe facial injuries — including a broken jaw and dangling ear.

The woman ended up stumbling home with missing teeth, a bloody head and wearing only a black tank top, according to court documents obtained by Fox News. She was working out in the gym in Burien, a Seattle suburb, before the June 25 assault and did not know her attacker, police said.

Salvador Diaz-Garcia, an illegal immigrant who was a recipient of Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is now facing second-degree assault and rape charges in the vicious attack. He also faces child molestation charges for allegedly assaulting a 14-year-old the same day the rape occurred.

His DACA status has been revoked and he now may face possible deportation, officials said.

According to police, the woman was on the treadmill of the gym at 9:15 p.m. when Diaz-Garcia stood behind her and kept asking her questions. She asked him to move. Diaz-Garcia then violently attacked her, police said, leaving her with a broken jaw, a broken nose and her ear partially ripped off.

The victim told police that a month before, her attacker had groped her and then ran away. Diaz-Garcia lived in the same apartment complex as the victim, but the two had never met.

He was arrested four days after the attack when witnesses and surveillance footage allegedly captured him watching girls at the complex’s pool just before the attack. Investigators say they found what they believe is the victim’s blood on his pants. A rape kit found DNA on her.

“The state is extremely concerned for the defendant’s brazen, bold, and violent behavior towards young women,” prosecutors said in court documents.

Diaz-Garcia was granted DREAMer status in 2013 and renewed it twice since then, most recently this past January. Immigration officials said his DACA status was recently revoked. 

Burien passed a sanctuary law in January, but now there’s a backlash. Residents have gathered enough signatures to force a vote on if the city should continue to shield undocumented immigrants illegal aliens. Residents are likely to vote on the issue in November, which could be the first referendum of its kind in the U.S.

“You want to lean toward having this welcoming ‘we want everybody here to be happy and feel safe,’” said Debi Wagner, a Burien councilwoman. “How can we guarantee that if we don’t know anything about people living in our midst?”

Diaz-Garcia is being held on $350,000 bail in Kings County Jail.

DCG

Protection from deportation revoked for former “cause célèbre”

jessica colotl

Jessica had an outstanding deportation order that neither she or her attorney addressed

From AP: Federal authorities have revoked the protection from deportation granted to a Mexican woman who became a cause celebre in the debate over illegal immigration as a college student in Georgia seven years ago.

Jessica Colotl, 29, was reluctantly thrust into the national spotlight in 2010 after she was pulled over on a traffic charge on the campus of Kennesaw State University, near Atlanta. She was arrested and turned over to federal immigration authorities who kept her in a detention center for 37 days.

Her case was widely covered by the news media after her sorority sisters held posters with her name on them during a march for immigration reform in Atlanta while she was detained. As a visible symbol of the national debate over illegal immigration, her case was regularly cited by advocates on both sides of the issue.

Colotl, who was brought to the U.S. illegally by her parents when she was 11, went on to graduate. In 2012 she applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. Her application was granted in 2013 and renewed last year. (DACA must be renewed every two years, so she was a year late in her renewal process.)

The Obama administration program offered a reprieve from deportation to people in the country illegally who could prove they arrived before they were 16, had been in the U.S. for several years and had not committed a crime since arriving.

President Donald Trump took a hard line on illegal immigration as a candidate, but has since softened his stance for those brought to the country as children.

Colotl’s attorney, Charles Kuck, said the revocation of Colotl’s DACA status shows Trump has not told the truth. “Trump promised that DACA kids were fine,” Kuck said. “Nothing’s changed in Jessica’s case. … They are simply in bad faith punishing her for exercising her rights under the policies enacted by the government.”

Colotl, who had work authorization through the DACA program, had been working as a paralegal in Kuck’s office. Her parents moved back to Mexico several years ago, and after her mother fell ill last year Colotl wanted to go see her.

DACA recipients are allowed to travel internationally and her lawyers helped her get the necessary paperwork.

But her lawyers didn’t want her to travel because she still had an outstanding deportation order, Kuck said. They filed a motion to reopen and administratively close her deportation proceedings. Immigration Judge J. Dan Pelletier denied the request.

Read the rest of the story here.

Read about the DACA process and legalities here.

DCG

Chicago’s ‘Mexico of the Midwest’ Fights Fallout From Fear of Trump

Little Village

From NBC News: It’s Friday night and time for the “marcha de cumpleaños” (birthday march) at Mi Tierra restaurant in the Chicago neighborhood of Little Village. Waiters bring cupcakes with lit, oversized sparklers, while patrons don straw hats and, paying no attention to empty tables, snake through the dining room to a Latino beat in a conga line.

“Fiesta. Happy,” is how Mi Tierra owner Ezequiel Fuentes describes the good times in culturally vibrant and economically vital Little Village — or as the community calls it, La Villita, a historic section in southwest Chicago that is billed as the Mexico of the Midwest.

But since the start of the year, fear of President Donald Trump has been spoiling the “fiesta” of Little Village, business owners and regular visitors said. Despite Chicago’s sanctuary city status, the uncertainty of when or whether immigration agents might strike is sapping the bustle from the 2½-mile stretch of quinceañera shops, restaurants, shoe and clothing stores, dental offices and other businesses that line W. 26th Street, the community’s main drive.

Locals say they see evidence that something has changed since January. Dozens of carved, brightly painted chairs and tables of Mi Tierra’s second dining room sat empty one weekend last month. Some tables in the main dining area also were unused. At lunchtime, half of the tables hid behind a partition awaiting customers.

“After the elections, everything changed,” said Fuentes, a former undocumented immigrant who now owns several restaurants in four states. “People are scared. They are scared to go out. The decrease of business (after the election) probably was 40 percent during the week, especially in the day time.”

Other business owners echo this sentiment. Vendors on the street corners complain that they no longer see the crowds walking up and down the neighborhood’s main street and lining up at their carts to buy their “elote” (Mexican grilled corn) and raspados (shaved ice sweetened with natural syrups). The usual buzz amid the selling of mariachi suits, clothing, jewelry, curios, accordions and many other goods at the Discount Mall outside Little Village’s welcoming arch is dampened.

Business leaders have been trying to tamp down the fear they think is driving the slowdown, reminding the community of Chicago’s historic sanctuary city status, and enlisting the mayor and police chief to dispel anxieties. They tell them there are no arrests going on in the neighborhood, that the Chicago police and local agencies don’t cooperate with the feds or question the immigration or citizenship status of residents because Chicago is a sanctuary city.

Exuding confidence in the city’s sanctuary status has taken on an urgency as news stories of arrests of immigrants with DACA – a type of protection from deportation – and people with immigration violations but not criminal histories fill the national news. The administration has threatened to punish cities that don’t cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“I would tell people here in La Villita to not be afraid, to get well informed, find [out] for each other if ICE is coming. Get communication through police. Come out and support our families, our businesses,” said Ezequiel Fuentes Jr., who works with his father in running their restaurants. “La Villita is a great place. We can make it even greater.”

Two days after the Mi Tierra celebration, residents came together at La Villita for a community meeting where some of the topics discussed included how to prepare for possible deportation, what rights people have if arrested and shopping local. The meeting’s title: “La Villita Se Defiende.” (“Little Village Defends Itself.”)

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

Father of detained Dreamer – with previous felony drug conviction and deportations – pleads guilty to immigration crime

maga

Adios muchacho…

From Seattle Times: The father of a so-called Dreamer — the young man whose arrest in Des Moines by immigration officials sparked fears of an immigration roundup and drew a national outcry — pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to entering the country illegally.

Court documents indicate that Antonio Ramirez-Poledo, 43, could face up to 20 years in prison because he has a prior drug felony in King County. However, federal prosecutors are recommending in a plea agreement filed with the court that he be released for time served when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez. Martinez is not bound by the prosecutor’s recommendation.

Ramirez-Poledo will likely face immediate deportation back to Mexico after the sentence is served.

He was deported from the U.S. at Paso del Norte, Texas, in 2004, after he was convicted in King County for possessing heroin and cocaine for distribution. He then returned to King County.

According to the criminal complaint, Ramirez-Poledo spent a year and a day in jail after his drug arrest and was then ordered deported. The complaint states that, in addition to the deportation, Ramirez-Poledo had been granted seven “voluntary departures,” including five in 2000, one in 2001 and another in 2006.

Ramirez-Poledo was arrested Feb. 10 outside a home in Des Moines after he was located by an agent from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Criminal Alien Program. Agents also took his 23-year-old son, Daniel Ramirez Medina, into custody.

The younger man had been brought to the country as a child and had been legally allowed to stay under the Obama administration’s 2012 “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program, which deferred deportation or other adverse immigration actions against individuals who entered the U.S. illegally as children. Proponents call its participants “Dreamers,” alluding to their desire to become U.S. citizens.

The arrest was the first involving a DACA-eligible immigrant under the Trump administration, and immigration and civil-rights officials reacted by suing ICE over his detention.

However, ICE insisted that the son was a gang member, and he remains in custody. His lawyers have disputed that claim and alleged government misconduct.

DCG