September 17th 2008 09:47 pm

ab540 students dealt potentially serious blow

ab540 students dealt potentially serious blow

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

A state appellate court has put a financial cloud over the future of tens of thousands of undocumented California college students, saying a state law that grants them the same heavily subsidized tuition rate that is given to resident students is in conflict with federal law.

Potentially, this ruling could have serious effects on students in California’s community colleges, COS included.

I find the debate over immigration depends almost entirely on whether or not people have been able to connect, one on one, with the subjects of the issue.  The undocumented students in my class–the ones I’ve known about–invariably are among the highest acheivers and hardest workers.  One might, at first glance, think these young people embody the American ethic of tomorrow.  And I propose that they do.

There is no question that the subject of undocumented immigrants is complex and emotional.  However, what appalls me is the lack of real leadership in tackling the question.  Neither the Obama nor the McCain platforms take a stand for human rights and humanity at the border–mostly both platforms parrot the concerns of the people who respond to opinion polls.  There is little originality and little difference between the stances (although either would be preferable to what there is now).  At least Obama mentions we should “promote economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal immigration,” but the platform has no structure or focus.

In the absence of official leadership, it is time once again to create our own.  Slowly, we have allowed our rights to be eroded by fear and by threat, we have allowed our economy to benefit the very wealthy at the expense of the poor and the (fading) middle class, and we have allowed our voices to be usurped by a loud minority.  It is time to think again about what it means to be human in this world, to reconnect to the things we have in common as citizens and non-citizens alike, and to imagine:  What course of action will bring about a future that will benefit the most people for the most sustainable period of time?  In short, it’s time for vision.

Read the complete text of the Chronicle article and check out some of the AB 540 links on the COS Puente web site.

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