DANOS UN CORAZON FUERTE PARA LUCHAR
(GIVE US A HEART STRONG ENOUGH TO STRUGGLE):
LIVING UNDOCUMENTED

The Sacramento Unified School District passed an Ethnic Studies curriculum for high school students (9th to 12th grade).  As a result, the faculty from Sacramento State University are editing a book for the Ethnic Studies Program. Alianza was invited  to submit a proposal to be part of this book, and its piece was accepted. The publication date for the book will be August 2016.

ABSTRACT

 

Living undocumented means you have experienced discrimination, exclusion, and fear.  You ask how can a person “be illegal?” You know what it means to be abused by unethical employers, and you have been told by others that you have no right to fight back.  Yet, you refuse to live in a state of invisibility.  You call for fair opportunities to get a higher education and for a pathway to citizenship. You are a proud DREAMer, an undocuscholar who doesn’t give up.

DREAMers are young immigrants who came to this country without documentation, without a legal status or whose visas have expired. They have started a movement to call for social change and a recognition of the contributions of undocumented immigrants.  DREAMers are hardworking adolescents who strive for academic and professional excellence. They have started student groups in high schools and colleges, and in the community to fight for their rights and to address the lack of resources available to them in order to complete their college education.

In this chapter we will examine the barriers and challenges DREAMers face living in the United States as unauthorized immigrants.  We will look in particular at the difficulties they have accessing and completing a college degree, including efforts to make colleges pay attention to their unique needs as students.  We will also discuss the attitudes and unfair treatment DREAMers encounter prior to enrolling in college, along with their experiences living in high poverty and needing to help their families. Finally, we will highlight critical California legislation that has improved DREAMers’ ability to obtain college degrees and discuss a framework for immigration reform that creates a welcoming roadmap to citizenship.