A story in the Oakland Tribune by my colleague Matt O’Brien examined how the federal “deferred action for childhood arrivals” immigration policy might provide added inspiration to some students to graduate from high school and go to college.
The program, announced in June, offers temporary deportation relief for those brought to the country illegally when they were children as long as they were under 31 on June 15 and have met certain educational (and other) requirements.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, 20 percent of young immigrants who met the other criteria won’t be able to benefit because they don’t have a high school diploma or GED and they’re not in school. I wonder if that figure is even higher in Oakland, where the four-year high school graduation rate is only 59 percent.
To help Matt with some of the reporting, I spoke with Vidal Gonzalez, who mentors a mostly Latino group of students from Oakland’s Fremont High, and Sandra Muniz, a high school senior who was born in Oakland, but has friends who could benefit from the policy.
Sandra’s quote didn’t make it into the piece, but she said she felt that immigration status was a major factor in students’ academic drive, or lack thereof. “Many students do not have the motivation because they believe, `Oh, I’m an immigrant child so there’s no future for me,’” she said.
She and Gonzalez felt that the policy provided students — called “dreamers” by proponents of the Dream Act — more inspiration to do well.
Do you agree? I know it’s early, but have you seen or experienced a difference?
My colleague Theresa Harrington interviewed someone in Contra Costa County about the spike in GED enrollment. Anyone know what’s available to people in Oakland now that adult education has been dismantled?