Friday, November 14, 2008

Underground, Undocumented Undergraduates Dream Big

A thoughtful article about several undocumented university students who have earned degrees but can't use them. Such a waste, just think how much this country needs these educated young people! DP

by Yasmin Nouh

The United States is a land where people of different ethnic backgrounds come to achieve what this country is most famously known for: the American Dream. It is a dream echoed in many homes of first generation Americans and is usually pursued by immigrants, people who are not born in America, but nevertheless come to America, work hard and make this country what it is today. It is the opportunity to make individual choices without the restrictions of class, caste, religion, race or ethnic group. Even though you might identify yourself as an American, raised for the majority of your lifetime in Los Angeles or Orange County, there is still one giant roadblock to this dream for a mass minority: immigration status.

Last week’s Rainbow Festival, presented by the UC Irvine Cross-Cultural Center, featured Underground Undergrads, a teach-in on immigrant students and their struggle to create political change. The event, led by UCLA graduate Matias Ramos and UCI graduate Angela Chen, featured the growing student movement around access to higher education for undocumented students. The event was also part of the 2008 fall campus book tour, where a group of undocumented students from UCLA share their stories of financial hardship and emotional distress in a publication entitled “Underground Undergrads.” These students have since been at the forefront of organizing for the passage of state and federal Dream Acts and lobbying for comprehensive immigration reform across the country.

However, a lingering feeling of shame is still prevalent. As one undocumented student at UCI explains, “Why am I breaking the law? I am told that it’s not my fault that my parents came here illegally. It wasn’t my decision, and my parents tell me to keep your academics up.” So then the question becomes: should a student be penalized for actions committed by his or her parents?
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

1 comment:

Matias Ramos said...

Thank you for your interest in our plight. To learn more about us, you can visit

We are still working on our website, but we remain committed to passing the DREAM Act in 2009. Thanks for supporting us!