AB540 brings hope to undocumented students in California

By Maria C. Isidoro

Immigration reform will not just benefit undocumented students at East Los Angeles College but international students as well.

This reform will boost the economy, open new jobs and opportunities for hard working class immigrants.

Confrontation among Republicans and Democrats stands in the way of an immigration law.

International students spend more than two years getting a higher education, if these students can stay more than 1 year with work permit they can make a valuable contribution to the U.S.

Many undocumented students, living in California for most of their lives, are attending classes at ELAC thanks to AB 540 bill paying in-state tuition.

AB 540, passed in 2001, in which community colleges and universities in California exempt students from paying high tuition fees, $20 per unit (in-state) up to $173 per unit (out-state), to enroll in classes and accomplished their goals.

Now, with the California Dream Act, students can pursue higher education and receive state financial aid despite their immigration status.

Another of President Obama’s policies include DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in 2012, which states that the government will not deport non-citizens who meet the requirements.

Undocumented residents can obtain a driver’s licenses, Social Security number and a two years work permit as well.

President of AB 540 Club Manuel Cruz is an undocumented student who helps brings awareness to legalization of young immigrants in the East L.A. community with a desire of building the american dream.

Cruz said that through President Obama’s administration policies ELAC’s students are able to transfer to a four year university receiving state financial aid.

Co-founder of Students for Equal Rights Fernando Hernandez said young adults graduating from high school, should not feel discourage or fear to deportation.

Hernandez said he felt discouraged after he needed to pay $3,000 for college courses, but the AB 540 helped with his tuition fees.

The immigration reform is a crucial issue which everyone in the community should be concerned of.

“There is a lot of work to do out there. We still want to get an immigration reform for everyone. I know we can do it, the latino community is still increasing in the U.S.,” Cruz said.

If more people get involved with the midterm elections six months away, there are high chances for a path to an immigration law.

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