Congratulations Class of 2012!
As the school year comes to a close, UCLA IDEA would like to congratulate all the graduates in California's high school class of 2012. Roughly 25,000 of these students have special cause for hope.
Last week, President Obama issued an executive order halting deportations for young undocumented immigrants. That decision, taken together with legislation signed by Gov. Brown last year allowing qualified undocumented students to access state financial aid, means that more outstanding California students will be able to enroll in and graduate from California's colleges and universities. And, because Obama's order also grants undocumented youth work permits, this expanded pool of college graduates will be able to make use of their degrees and contribute back to the larger community.
Young immigrant rights activists like Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix played a critical role in bringing us to this point. These DREAMers—so named for their support of the DREAM Act and their vision of a better future—spoke out and protested at great personal risk. In so doing, they changed public perception and transformed political reality.
The task of creating just and inclusive immigration policies is far from complete. Young people, including graduates from the class of 2012, will need to lead the way.
Artwork by Nery Orellana, 2010.