Students marched for the Dream Act during a question-and-answer period with ASI presidential candidate Sarah Storelli. Photo by Ryan Sidarto- Mustang Daily

Even with the presidential race whittled to just one candidate, the Associate Students Inc. elections campaign continued as scheduled Thursday in the University Union.

As ASI elections chair Kelsey Rice read from index cards, lone presidential hopeful Sarah Storelli, who has spoken with more than 67 clubs and organizations as part of her promise to unite campus organizations, said she felt at home in front of the mix-and-match crowd.

“I was comfortable, and I gave the best answers I could in the short amount of time,” she said.

Free cookies were given to those who submitted questions.

Filled with baked confection, one student expressed concern for the increased student fees and class availability. Storelli said while she will work to decrease fees, a lot depends on Governor Schwarzenegger and the state budget.

“As far as classes go, although students feel like classes are harder to take, they were able to take, on average, 14.2 units this quarter,” she said, “and both are ongoing issues that we can address with university administration once the time comes and depending on the  state of the economy  next year.”

After she answered the second question, a stream of peaceful demonstrators filtered  in and filled the plaza.

Carrying large signs painted with “Education is a Right” and “Support the DREAM Act,” members representing Movimiento Estudiantil Xicano de Aztlan (MEXA) joined the elections fiesta.

MEXA president Daniella Castro said the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act is an important piece of legislation and hopes students will show their support by signing a petition, which could help carry the legislation all the way to President Obama.

The petition and a wall detailing the DREAM Act will be on Dexter Lawn.

“We’re not pushing immigration reform,” she said. “We just want graduates to have a good chance to get a job once they leave here.”

Castro says some students in the club pay for their education because they do not meet the requirements necessary for receiving student loans or grants. Only legal residents qualify for such educational benefits.

If passed, the DREAM Act would grant temporary residency to those, who, as Castro pointed out, have no choice whether they are taken across the border. If passed, the act grants six years in which to  complete an undergraduate degree — which would earn students legal resident status — or join the military. Benefitors, however, would not be considered U.S. citizens, meaning they couldn’t vote.

Schwarzenegger don’t be cruel, we just want to go to school!” echoed behind drum taps as Storelli finished the round of questioning.

Storelli  said she knew the club was coming and welcomed its presence.
“We have to be receptive on both sides. It is part of my platform to support the multicultural clubs on campus. I want to make sure every voice is heard,” Storelli said.
Castro said the goal of the march was to create awareness. Currently, children brought from Mexico who grow up and attend college don’t have the same opportunity as legal residents, often graduating only to realize there is little or no chance to use their newly acquired skills. In the U.S., without legal residency, it is illegal to work or even live.
The forum was to bolster ASI efforts in joining the Cal Poly governing body with its heart and soul — the students.

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18 Comments

  1. “Only legal residents qualify for such educational benefits.” but if you paint on pieces of construction paper, we can make an exception for you.

    1. It was very important that M.E.X.A. made this appearance. I am not sure if your comment permeated with sarcasm, but I hope that as a member of this great country you would appreciate students (and community) who make their voices heard.

  2. You have got to be kidding me. I oppose this so-called “DREAM” Act, as it sounds more like a nightmare. Illegal immigrants should not be able to get student loans, go to school on the public dime, work, or live here. To suggest otherwise only serves to encourage more illegal immigration. After all, if you know you can bring your kids here illegally, get them a state funded education and student loans, well heck, what’s to lose? We need to start enforcing illegal immigration laws, not making the lives of illegal immigrants more comfortable.

    1. Stephen,

      YOU have got to be kidding me. Don’t start by trying to add more laws to fix the symptoms of international commerce laws, start by changing them. Illegal immigration from Mexico to the US is fueled by an unstable and volatile environment, due to drugs being consumed by AMERICANS by cheap imported US food into the Mexican markets that drive away ranching and farming families into urbanized areas where they have no option but to work at sweatshops to make a living.

      Many times kids do not have a choice when their parents decide to move. Many of these “illegal” kids are brought up in American neighborhoods where they study, work, volunteer, and play, and they call this place “home”. Then, after high school they realize that they cannot go anywhere else in their homes. That this is the highest educational degree that they will get. How are we supposed to fight things such as poverty, crime, and malnutrition if we do not elevate the education of our own youth?

  3. You make some valid points, Stephen. Not to mention, you wrote them in a civil manner, making your stance firmly grounded.

  4. I say if you want to use tax funded programs, pay taxes. Certainly you could agree with that Jorge. Get jobs to pay taxes and earn citizenship. Don’t expect everything to be given to you. Being an American citizen and attending a public college is a privlege, not a god given right.

    1. How can illegal immigrants get jobs that pay taxes without a social security number? Why would an illegal immigrant want to pay taxes if there is the chance that they could be caught and expelled from this country at any time? I understand that citizenship (not from your homecountry) and public education are a privilege, but how far does this privilege go? Who draws the line whether somebody is allowed to enter this privileged space and who isn’t? And why should the young students suffer the consequences of the actions of their parents due to the actions of their governments? How are we going to address the symptom and the root of the problem?

      And George, I hope your “Don’t expect everything to be given to you” comment wasn’t direct to me. I don’t expect that. If it is directed to me, I ask that you please don’t assume things or that you explain yourself more clearly.

        1. This is exactly what I’m talking about. How do we change this?

          People don’t just emigrate because they want to. Like I said before, kids often have no say on family decisions and get caught up later in a system or home where they have no voice and no way to lift themselves up. Why would somebody want to leave their home, their family, their friends? There are social, work environment, and natural factors that force people to take emigration decisions. A lot of these factors are consequences set forth by market forces caring only for profit which dismiss people and planet.

          I find it ridiculous how a country which laws were created by immigrants and is being fueled by immigrants puts so many blockades for immigrants to now join them. Especially since this same government, which created these immigration laws, is pushing for things such as North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that push people to want to leave their countries.

  5. “Why would an illegal immigrant want to pay taxes if there is the chance that they could be caught and expelled from this country at any time?”

    Why should legal citizens and immigrants give money to criminals?

    1. Say that you were brought to the US illegally by your parents when you were 5. Throughout school you were a “good” kid, got good grades, had tons of friends and were active in your community (sports/work/volunteer/etc). It is now time to attend college, but you learn that you can only go so far due to your immigration status: illegal.

      In this scenario, would you call yourself a criminal?

  6. Wow. I do NOT sympathize with them at all. I’m an American citizen and I don’t qualify either, even though my Navy dad barely makes enough to support 4 other children, I’ve had to work my way through college, you do what you have to….college is certainly not a right, it’s a privilege.

    1. 1: I do not qualify for either. 2: My father served in the U.S. Army 3: I am working my way through college and going to be enslaved by loans once I graduate, but neither of these things are, in my opinion, grounds for opposing the DREaM Act so strongly. If anything, because your father has served this country, like mine, and barely has enough to support his family and cannot pay for your education, like mine, and you have to work for your education, like me, you should know how valuable and crucial an education is. And, because of those things, it seems only logical to believe that EVERYONE should have the privilege of attaining an education, because you know what its like to work for it and not be given any privilege toward it. What makes you so better than me, I have the same background as you, I and my father are just as American as you and your father. Many of these “illegal” students have these backgrounds, the same as you and I.

      We all need to take a step back and really evaluate why we’re getting an education. I bet many would say it is because of the opportunities that it will open up and because you want to have a secure future, well, these are the same reasons that our peers that you consider illegal, but have grown up WITH YOU, want an education. I don’t understand why that is so hard to grasp, they’re human beings, they are part of our community, they want the same things as you and I. It’s an education, it’s not harming you in any way, you are NOT paying for it, THEY ARE, so why should you have a say in whether education is a privilege or a right, and who should get it? Everyone should have the right to better themselves, it’s self-determination, what this country was founded on, let’s follow through with something for once, for ALL people.

  7. I think people want to see “illegals” inducted into the system..if you want to live here I think it is only fair to be liable for everything American citizens are too. I don’t think most people would say illegals do not deserve a proper education, rights and opportunities…but I think the resistance is the notion of giving them a free ride.

    1. If we don’t want to give “illegal” students a free ride, but we would like for them and their families to contribute to the tax system which help fund many students’ educations, then we need to start by creating a system which allows them to not only “act” like a citizen, but that gives them the same duties and rights as the other citizens. Solution: amnesty?

  8. Did anyone that opposes the DREAM Act actually read what it says? These students would not be given a free ride. They would have to work for their education by work study, loans, obviously whatever job they want to get, and/or by joining the military. These kids grow up as Americans so they at least deserve to be given an opportunity to go to school and further contribute to their communities. If the military already thinks that they are American enough, since if you look into it, they do recruit illegal immigrants; which I know of a few cases, then they should be American enough to be given a chance to go to school.

  9. You people are Crazy. Why don’t you just sign your children’s future away? Who do you think will pay for these future Democrats? I thought school was supposed to make you smarter; you need to get a refund from your school.

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