[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Diaz-Balart Supports Illegal Kids Education

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Diaz-Balart Supports Illegal Kids Education

Much is said about Cuban-Americans and their "lack of sympathy" for other immigrant groups. Even more is said about C-A politicians' perceived lack of sympathy, as well as their lack of support for non-C-As in their districts.

This article in the Herald should put some of these arguments to rest. Of course, since it was buried in page 5 of the metro section, very few people probably read it. It just isn't controversial enough, I guess.
Immigrants Chase American 'Dream Act'

By Casey Woods

Andres Garcia remembers a few things from his life before coming to Florida: the slow rhythm of his small Guatemalan hometown, and then his family's frightening trek across the desert to the United States.

Mostly, though, his memories are in Miami, where he has lived since he was 6.

Nonetheless, because he is an undocumented immigrant, he is not allowed to pay in-state tuition at state universities, which is far cheaper than out-of-state tuition. That leaves the college degree he dreams of out of reach.

''It's frustrating because I know I have the potential to be something better,'' Garcia said.

Monday, two Miami lawmakers joined with advocacy organizations Students Working for Equal Rights and the Florida Immigrant Coalition to urge passage of a bill in Congress that would help Garcia and others like him attend college and become legal residents.

The ''Dream Act'' would grant in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant students and permit those students, along with those serving in the military, to legally remain in the United States. There are several requirements, including one that stipulates the student must have arrived in the United States before the age of 16 and have lived in the country for at least five years.

''These are students who grew up here and in all likelihood know no other world, and English may be the only language they speak,'' said U.S. Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, R-Fla., who joined his brother, U.S. Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart, at the Florida International University School of Law to urge passage of the measure. ``Who does it benefit if they can't get an education?''

Passage won't be easy. Similar bills have languished in Congress over the years, with most Republicans opposed to any legislation that would provide benefits to those who broke the law in entering the country.

This year, however, may be different. Democrats control Congress and tend to support such a law. President Bush favors a guest-worker program and other proposals to allow illegal immigrants to earn legal residency.

Way back in 2005, I wrote a post supporting this effort. I still feel the same way.

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