On Oct. 8, 2011, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the second half of the state’s DREAM Act, thereby granting undocumented students access to publicly-funded financial aid. The signing — a financial and symbolic acceptance of students illegally present in the United States — validated many but infuriated others.
Beneath the current debate lie enduring and fundamental questions: Who belongs in America? Who is entitled to draw from state coffers? Who can hold a job? Citizens and immigrants from all periods of American history have entertained these issues. Our current era is but the latest round in this cycle.
As student journalists, we not only follow these developments as they play out on the state stage but attend class both with peers who oppose the act and students who stand to benefit from it. Drawing on this unique vantage point, we present an examination of the California DREAM Act not just through the experiences of undocumented students themselves, but also through historical, political and economic lenses — all while keeping an eye on the future.
—Jordan Bach-Lombardo, Kelly Fang and Javier Panzar