Monday, July 30, 2007

A Filipina UCLA student, an undocumented immigrant, testifies for California Dream Act

"Stephanie was born in the Philippines and immigrated to the United States with her parents when she was three years old. Stephanie is a junior at a University of California institution majoring in English (creative writing). As an AB 540 student, she is forced to take up to a year off from school in order to work. The money that she earns working two or three minimum-wage jobs helps her to pay off tuition for one academic term. Stephanie dreams to one day become a copy editor for a major newspaper. "

- excerpted from "Undocumented Students, Unfulfilled Dreams"

Stephanie has always been an excellent student. She started high school at 12, and entered college at 16. Because she is ineligible to get student aid, she is currently not enrolled.

Stephanie's story is part of the recently released report called "Undocumented Students, Unfulfilled Dreams". The report includes testimonies of 12 undocumented high school and college students and recent college graduates, detailing their personal stories and struggles with being undocumented in the American higher education system. Their stories are tied by a common thread: they came to America as children. Most are "honor students, athletes, student leaders, and aspiring professionals."

The California Dream Act (SB 65) would provide undocumented students access to institutional merit-based scholarships and aid, and Cal Grant B, now unavailable because of their immigration status.

The bill is currently stalled in the Assembly Rules Committee and is waiting to be introduced by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. State Senator Gilbert Cedillo, the California Dream Act’s chief senate sponsor and Assemblymember Mike Eng are its chief supporters.

1 comment:

Erikka said...

Hi Yong -

We are currently working on a short piece about the failure of the National DREAM Act and the students that it might have affected were the legislation passed and why immigration bills have become so difficult to pass. We would love to interview Stephanie and wonder if you still have contact information for her.

If so, please email me at

Thank you,

Erikka Yancy
Associate Producer
Brave New Films