- UW Oshkosh, Chancellor Wells
- United States of America
The DREAM Act is a proposed federal legislation that would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition to universities in their states. The requirements are that these students have entered the U.S. before the age of 16, graduate from high school, complete 2 years of college or the armed forces, be of good moral character, be under the age of 35 and have 5 years of residency in the U.S before the bill is passed. If these students meet all of these requirements, they may be granted a path to citizenship. A common misconception, however, is that the DREAM Act is an amnesty for illegal immigrants. This is untrue, as the DREAM Act targets a very specific demographic and requires an 11 year wait for citizenship.
Although the DREAM Act has not been passed nationally, there now 11 states that grant in-state tuition to undocumented students (California, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin). There are currently 8-10 undocumented students attending your university, and many more will follow as more people hear about the recent passing of the WI state budget. Therefore, it is in the university’s best interest that you support the DREAM Act. Unless this law passes, your students will face many challenges in regards to affording tuition, since they are ineligible to receive state or financial aid. They also face being unemployed once they finish college because they do not have the necessary documentation to find a professional job.
Recently, Rosa Alvarez-Vélez became the first student to have been accepted, been granted in-state tuition, and have graduated from UW Oshkosh. Through her example, we have come to understand that being an undocumented student is not an easy situation to be in. Though her five years at UW Oshkosh, she constantly struggled to pay tuition, find a job, and be accepted in her campus community when people found out about her situation. Today, as an undocumented college graduate, she also faces many challenges. Although she graduated with a 3.7 GPA and was recognized by you as a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence recipient, there are no options for her. She cannot use her college degree to achieve her goals or help her community. Her dream is to become a bilingual education teacher, but because of her immigration status, she cannot do so.
It is crucial that the DREAM Act pass so that other UW Oshkosh students do not suffer the same fate as Rosa. These students are talented and driven young people who deserve a chance to succeed in the professions they choose to study. Due to the new state budget, UW Oshkosh will see a higher percentage of its student population struggling with similar problems. It is the duty of the university to ensure that they are supported properly in order to help them succeed.
We the undersigned, call on to Chancellor Wells to publicly endorse the DREAM Act. Through his support, UW Oshkosh can become a front runner towards this vital issue affecting the Fox Cities, the state of Wisconsin and the nation at large.
The UW Oshkosh for the DREAM Act petition to UW Oshkosh, Chancellor Wells was written by Rosa Alvarez and is in the category Education at GoPetition.