HEADLINES: Immigration

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This past Saturday, supporters of the Maryland DREAM Act marched in droves from Langley Park to the University of Maryland. There was a strong youth contingent present, as lively rally-goers shouted the new slogan of the immigrant rights movement, “undocumented and unafraid.” Maryland narrowly passed the DREAM Act legislation last year, and opponents gathered enough signatures to warrant a referendum on this year’s ballot, where the DREAM act will be Question 4. The Maryland DREAM Act would allow certain undocumented students to receive in-state tuition at Maryland universities. At the rally, DREAMers gave impassioned speeches in “English and Spanish about being smuggled over the border by ‘coyotes’ or their parents, their constant fear of deportation, and their dreams of becoming a reporter, a social worker, a bakery owner.” The President of the University of Maryland, a strong supporter of the Maryland DREAM Act, also spoke at the event. While the act is still highly controversial, activists are confident in their chances of winning the referendum next month. [Washington Post] Read more about LIRS’s involvement at the rally here.

In an announcement this past Thursday, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck declared that the “LA police will no longer honor requests from federal agencies to detain illegal immigrants who are arrested for non-violent offenses like driving without a license, illegal vending or being drunk in public unless they were part of a street gang or had a criminal record.” This was a highly controversial move, especially in the wake of Governor Brown’s veto of the TRUST Act. Immigration advocates lauded the police chief for this decision, and used it as further ammunition to continue to call for the suspension of Secure Communities. ICE simply reiterated that their policy is to focus on deportation of violent criminals. For the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants living in Los Angeles, however, the new policy will make a great deal of a difference in their everyday lives. [NYTimes]

A new report by the Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research at the University of Maryland Baltimore County shows that the benefits of the Maryland DREAM Act will far outweigh the costs on a long-term scale. Many people oppose the DREAM Act because they think that it is going to be a negative drain on resources and the economy, but this report proves how the act will actually bring in a great deal of revenue to the state. The study’s authors write that “the initial costs of the investment in education will be more than offset by increased tax revenues and lower incarceration rates from a more educated citizenry.” As for the question of whether or not the Maryland DREAM Act will attract more undocumented immigrants to the state, “the report finds that the thought needed for undocumented immigrants to benefit from Maryland’s law would be prohibitive to emigrate for that reason alone. They would need to make sure that the student spent a minimum of three years in, and graduated from, a Maryland high school (as well as paying state and federal income taxes for all years).” The Maryland DREAM Act will be question 4 on this November’s ballot.  [Washington Post]

In a continuation of the debate over the term “illegal immigrant,” Univision, the Spanish-language counterpart to ABC News, has recently ramped up its fight against The New York Times, and its usage of the “i-word.”  The New York Times’ public editor, Margaret Sullivan, recently wrote a response to Jose Antonio Vargas’ campaign against the “i-word,” saying that usage of the term was accurate and needed in many circumstances. Univision, however, then shot back, releasing an article entitled, “The Times are behind the times,” citing a long list of newspapers and networks who have switched over the more neutral “undocumented.”  [Huffington Post]

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