Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The conscience of our nation

The noise coming from the buses' engines were not enough to drown David's voice. The South Korea native and UCLA international studies major nearly broke down in the middle of his AB 540 testimonial but the support of the nearly 150 students behind him were enough to give him the strength to go on.

All of these students—clad in graduation cap and gowns—stood in solidarity with the thousands of students who graduate every year from U.S. high schools but face huge challenges when it comes to college because they're undocumented immigrants.

"I have a freind that rides the bus for six hours a day just to get to school," Santa Ana College student Maria Robles said. "I just wouldn't do that."

Robles, like many of the students present, is an AB 540 ally and was there to show her support to students who she considers "work 10 times harder than anybody I know."

As part of the National DREAM Act Graduation Day, these students took part of a mock graduation in front of City Hall urging Congress to pass the DREAM Act. If passed, the DREAM Act would allow these students to apply for financial aid and contribute back to this country.

The we-cannot-afford-to-help-these-criminals excuse is so 2008. This country is in dire need of the money that undocumented students can bring into the economy. Just think about it for a second. If the 60,000 or so undocumented students paid the fees needed in order to apply for citizenship, a large chunk of money would a good boost to the economy. Now, imagine if the 14 million or so undocumented immigrants were given the chance to apply for a green card and pay for their fees...that's math I can't even do!

"They're here as the conscience of the nation," UCLA Labor Center Director Kent Wong said during a passionate speech. "These students are risking a lot by being here but they're taking a bigger risk by being silence."

Well said Mr. Wong.