Alarmed by the relatively low numbers of undocumented students applying for next year’s California Dream Act grants, California legislative and education leaders are urging students not to fear that filling out the college aid forms could trigger their deportation.
With a week left before the deadline, the number of applications for the state-funded Dream Act grants that help pay for college tuition is significantly lower so far than last year’s. Activists say students are reluctant to apply because they fear that personal information might be used to identify and deport undocumented young people and their relatives under the Trump administration’s new immigration policies. However, state officials emphasize that such data are not shared with federal immigration authorities and that the state will fight to keep any of it from being handed over.
In an event Wednesday at the state Capitol, Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside), who is chairman of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, pleaded with students and their families to apply for the Dream Act grants by the March 2 deadline and pledged to protect the data as much as possible. “We will do everything in our power to protect them,” he said of the so-called Dreamer students, young people brought to the United States illegally as children.