HEADLINES: Immigration

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The Illinois DREAM fund, which was passed through the legislature last year, is now set to begin accepting applications.  The fund is a “privately-funded state scholarship program,” that gives priority to undocumented students who would otherwise be unable to afford higher education.   So far, “the fund has raised $500,000 in private donations.  Immigrant students attending two-year colleges are eligible to apply for $2,000 scholarships and those attending four-year institutions can apply for $6,000.”  The fund is hoping to reach its goal of $5 million in donations.  The DREAM fund has received the support of many prominent Illinoisans, including Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel, and Democratic congressman Luis Guttierez. [Foxnewslatino]

The Georgia legislature has passed a law that bans undocumented students from the state’s top five universities and also requires these students to pay out-of-state tuition at other Georgia colleges.  In response to this, enraged students and professors have banded together to open Freedom University, an alternative opened to give undocumented students the opportunity to learn.  The name was chosen to invoke the memory of the fight for equal education opportunities during the civil rights movement.   University of Georgia history professor Pam Voekel said, “they really do see this as a human rights struggle.  They are being excluded from higher education.”  Many of the students at the makeshift school are also highly involved with the greater immigrant rights movement.  While the school is not accredited, “since last year, six students have received private scholarships at out-of-state schools.”  [NPR]

Over the last few years, the number of U visa applications has risen significantly.  In Oakland, the number of processed applications has risen from 3 to 502 from 2007 to 2011.  The U-visa program is offered “as a way to assure them that they don’t have to have any fear of us trying to get them deported out of the country.”  This is a huge problem for police, as many crimes go unreported or unsolved because people are afraid to cooperate with them for fear of deportation.  U visas are typically reserved for victims of violent crimes or domestic abuse, and are granted in exchange for cooperation with the police.  There are not enough U-visas allocated to comply with need, though, since the house rejected the bid to raise the number of allocated visas from 10,000 to 15,000.  The need, however, is only likely to rise as more and more survivors are stepping out of the shadows. [Baycitizen]

A new study by the University of Southern California and El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana claims that Mexican undocumented immigration to the United States is beginning to rise again, a sign that the United States’ economy is recovering.  The “study by U.S. and Mexican researchers estimates that immigrants headed north in the first half of 2012 outnumbered those heading back for the first time since 2007.”  The number of unauthorized immigrants arriving from Mexico had dropped sharply during the recession.  Immigration from Mexico of all types is still far below the levels seen a decade ago, however. [USAtoday]

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