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Improving Dreams, Equality, Access, and Success

Bringing us one step closer to the DREAM.

What’s Inside? Mission Statement (pg. 1) About IDEAS (pg. 1) Dream Summer (pg. 2) AB 540 Day (pg. 3) ASPIRE (pg. 4) AB 540 Project (pg. 4) Counselor’s Conference (pg. 5) Immigrant Youth Empowerment Conference (pg. 5) Undocumented Student Week (pg. 6) Assembly Bill 540 (pg. 7) CA Dream Act: Assembly Bill 130 (pg. 7) CA Dream Act: Assembly Bill 131 (pg. 7) Implementation of AB 131 (pg. 8) Donate to IDEAS at UCLA (pg. 8) The Federal DREAM Act (pg. 9) What Now? (pg. 10)

Mission Statement It is the purpose of IDEAS at UCLA to organize, promote, encourage, and further the education of immigrant students by providing social networks, academic, and financial resources to students. IDEAS plans to carry out, foster, and advocate for an accessible environment in university education for all immigrants.

About IDEAS UCLA students, faculty and administrators came together during the summer of 2003 and officially established IDEAS at UCLA in October 2003. As a support network for undocumented and AB 540 undocumented students at UCLA and across diverse communities outside of UCLA, IDEAS members collectively form camaraderie of people connected by shared experiences, struggles, and successes. Evolving from a support network to a student organization and community outreach project, IDEAS now guides high school and community college students in their transition to institutions of higher education. In the summer of 2004, IDEAS initiated the AB 540 Project to bring awareness of the AB 540 legislation along with information on educational and financial resources available to the Los Angeles, Orange and


WINTER 2012 2016 Riverside counties. This is accomplished through informational workshops, student panels, and counselor and immigrant youth conferences. IDEAS is a strong advocate of the Development Relief for Education of Alien Minors Act and campaigns for related legislation. IDEAS also works to retain current UCLA AB 540 students by working with UCLA faculty and administration to establish more access to different resources. Every year, IDEAS fundraises to provide funds for the IDEAS Making the Dream a Reality Scholarship to help current undocumented/AB 540 students fund their education at UCLA.

Dream Summer In 2011, the UCLA Labor Center and the United We Dream Network developed Dream Summer, the first national internship for DREAM Act student leaders across the country. One hundred and two leaders were placed for ten weeks with social justice and labor organizations where they gained an invaluable experience, leadership skills, and organizing knowledge. They participated in different cities across the country including Pheonix, Miami, New York, Washington D.C., and cities all throughout California. Some of the many projects students participated in include: organizing and educating car wash workers, working with hotel workers in Miami, outreach and education of the community in South Los Angeles, civic engagement in Pheonix, “Know Your Rights” Education to immigrant families, and planning of conferences with inner-city youth. Dream Summer is expanding to more cities and states. The UCLA Labor Center’s Dream Resource Center is expecting to host twice the number of DREAM Act leaders to get involved with more amazing projects in their communities and nationally. Many students from IDEAS at UCLA were able to be a part of this unforgettable experience.

IDEAS at UCLA would like to thank the UCLA Labor Center’s Dream Resource Center for providing this opportunity for many undocumented students. We hope more student leaders within our organization can become part of this experience again this summer. As a reader also take action in letting organizations and students know about this opportunity. Applications and information for students and host organizations are now available online. Please visit: 2


WINTER 2012 2016

AB 540 Day B For the second year, IDEAS at UCLA and

The event had a definitive social atmosphere with many students forming rapid connections between each other and the older IDEAS members present, once again proving that our struggles are a connecting bond between us all. The participating students were made aware of this by being connected to the first students to benefit under AB 540 when IDEAS alumni Ignacia Rodriguez, Betsy Estudillo, and Maria Gomez who shared their experience within IDEAS and at UCLA. AB 540 Day was a definitive success for those in the planning process but the true measure of success will be the connections and resources utilized by the new students. We can only wish them good luck as they experience the wonders of UCLA and IDEAS.

the Bruin Resource Center paired up to host AB 540 Day. AB 540 Day is aimed at introducing undocumented students to the resources available on campus and to provide a space for networking amongst each year’s incoming class of students. The workshops this year included an introduction to the Scholarship Resource Center, presentations by the Career Center, IDEAS history, a workshop on readily available resources to any student, and a campus tour introducing students to key locations where resources and personnel reside for help. This year AB 540 Day had a great turnout with 30 incoming freshmen and transfer students attending the event. Such a turnout reflected importance and improved methods employed to ensure that more undocumented students became aware of the resources open to them as they embarked on their journey at UCLA.

Helpful Links •

Cal Grants:

Implementation for CA Dream Act:

As a project of the UCLA Labor Center, the Dream Resource Center promotes equal access to education by organizing and developing educational resources, leadership tools and support mechanisms for immigrant students along with promoting progressive local and national policies. For information on different projects, resources, and information on pieces of legislation please visit the DRC at 3


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Extending our Reach: ASPIRE at UCLA In 2006, IDEAS joined the California Dream Network, a statewide network of student-based organizations aimed at creating and influencing public policy affecting undocumented students. Afterward, IDEAS also joined with United We Dream, which is a nation-wide network of organizations that serve the undocumented student community at large. As we have networked nation-wide, IDEAS recognizes the increased effort to continuously outreach to other groups and communities. Recently, IDEAS has worked closely with the Asian & Pacific Islander communities to create ASPIRE, Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights Through Education, component of IDEAS. ASPIRE seeks to strengthen the unity of undocumented Asian American students to raise awareness and promote immigrant rights through advocacy and education.

AB 540 Project The AB 540 Project is another component of IDEAS which is supported by the Community Programs Office (CPO) here at UCLA. The Community Programs Office serves an umbrella office for the Student Retention Center, the Community Service Projects, and the Student Initiated Committee. The IDEAS at UCLA AB 540 Project is part of a committed group of students that seek to

improve access of education for all underserved and underrepresented communities. The project outreaches to undocumented students, parents, academic counselors and the greater Los Angeles community in an effort to raise awareness about academic and financial resources available for undocumented students. With these resources, undocumented students can surpass the seemingly insurmountable goal of reaching higher education. Given their immigration status, undocumented students face struggles in affording higher education because they cannot apply for financial aid, and scholarships available are very limited. The project’s goal in our communities is the accessibility for relevant information and resources.


The AB 540 Project provides informational workshops, presentations for community organizations, community colleges, and high schools in the greater Los Angeles Area. In 20102011 school year, the Project held approximately 50 workshops. This year the Project so far has facilitated 30 workshops. The Project commits an academic school year to mentoring 20 undocumented students by establishing a site at their high school, this year being the Magnolia Science Academy in Reseda, CA. This is to ensure that these students benefit from Assembly Bill 540 in their pursuit of higher education. The project works closely with these students to provide them resources, scholarship information, skill building, academic and moral support.

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Counselor’s Conference We were extremely privileged to hold our Fourth Annual Counselor’s Conference this year at the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex. Our five project directors did an amazing job of organizing the conference that aims to continue informing counselors and other administrators about the importance of AB 540, the Federal and California DREAM Act, and financial resources for undocumented students. As well as organizing, they did a remarkable job of outreaching to counselors all over southern California by having over one hundred people rsvp to the conference. With the recent passage of the California DREAM Act, we had one of our first opportunities to educate people about this amazing victory for undocumented students and make them aware about the expansion of financial resources available to undocumented students. The Counselor’s Conference always aspires to provide counselors and administrators the necessary resources and information for them to be able to guide their undocumented high school students to higher education through a series of workshops. One of the most powerful events of the day happened when students from different places in their UCLA career participated in the panel where they were able to talk openly about their struggles as undocumented students at UCLA. Counselors were able to hear about students who along with commuting several hours also have to work to pay for their tuition at UCLA. By hearing these experiences from students, we hope counselors will be able to give their students the necessary support to continue their education. The Conference as always was a success because we were able to dispel myths and misconceptions counselors may have about the complex situation of undocumented students and we had the opportunity to create new allies with the counselors in attendance.


Immigrant Youth Empowerment Conference Finally, the IDEAS AB 540 Project puts on the biggest event of the year, which is the Immigrant Youth Empowerment Conference.

The annual conference provides high school and college students, educators, and community leaders with a daylong event where they learn and converse about the wide array of issues relevant to undocumented students. Topics include: financial aid avenues, ally support, undocumented identity, advocacy, and activism, etc. In 2011, the conference had over 1000 students and educators visit the UCLA campus on Memorial Day. We hope that for our 5th annual Immigrant Youth Empowerment Conference, which will be June 2nd, 2012, we outreach to even more people.


WINTER 2012 2016

Undocumented Student Week HOPE.DREAM.ACT.

As time ticked and Jerry Brown delayed to sign Assembly Bill 131 (the second half of the California Dream Act), IDEAS at UCLA took on the work to organize the “Undocumented Student Week” from October 3rd through the 6th. It was necessary to make our undocumented population at UCLA visible and to reiterate the importance of AB 131, a piece of legislation that would increase the retention of our undocumented bruins. Thereafter, IDEAS incorporated a Department of Homeland Security and Administrative Relief Teach-in, and CA Dream Act Workshop during the first two days of the week to inform, educate and increase support on campus. On the third day, the rain did not stop our allies and supporters to stand in solidarity and break stereotypical perceptions of undocumented students by wearing their “I Am Undocumented” shirts as part of our “I Am Undocumented Day”. The Undocumented Student Week culminated on Thursday with a rally that gathered allies, supporters and curious students passing through Bruin Walk outside of Kerckhoff Hall. Undocumented students shared their testimonies, struggles, and even more amazingly, a couple of allies publicly showed their support. It was a beautiful scene to have our undocumented students, allies and supporters come together for an effort to urge Governor Brown to sign AB 131. Two days later, AB 131 was signed into a law.



WINTER 2012 2016

How well do you know these pieces of legislation? Assembly Bill 540 Assembly Bill 540 is a California state law that allows undocumented students and out-of-state U.S. citizens in California to pay in-state tuition at the public colleges and universities. This law was introduced by Assembly member Marco Firebaugh on May 1, 2001 and was signed by Governor Gray Davis on October 12, 2001. To qualify as an AB 540 student, the following must be met: must have attended a California public school for at least three years, graduate with a California high school diploma or G.E.D., and file an affidavit with the admissions office of the prospective twoyear or 4-year institution of higher learning. The affidavit is to confirm whether the student is undocumented and also to confirm that the student will apply for adjustment of legal status when eligible to do so. AB 540 does not provide financial aid, legal status to students, and does not place student at risk of deportation.

Assembly Bill 130 Before the passing of Assembly Bill 130 in July 2011, the University of California did not provide any scholarships to undocumented students. If one wanted to donate money for scholarships for AB 540 students, donations would need

Assembly Bill 131 to be given to an outside organization willing to setup and carry out a process for AB 540 students to receive that money as a scholarship. For UCLA undocumented students, that organization is Liberty Hill. The AB 130 law allows students who qualify for AB 540 to apply for privately funded university scholarships. AB 130 does not allow AB 540 students to receive financial aid from the state of California budget; instead it is another scholarship resource for AB 540 students. AB 540 students will simply go through the regular competitive process of applying for a scholarship like every other student at their given institution of higher learning. For example, upon the implementation of this bill UCLA was able to provide scholarships to AB 540 students through an application process such as the Student Aid Application for Dream Act Students (SAADAS), which is submitted along with scholarship applications provided through institutional programs such as the Academic Advancement Program (AAP), to determine financial need. Furthermore, AB 130 and AB 131 do not provide a pathway to citizenship. It is simply to help AB 540 students who are from low-income families to continue their education.


Assembly Bill 131 introduced by assemblyman Gil Cedillo (Democrat from the Los Angeles District) will grant California state financial aid to students that are AB 540 status holders. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill in 2011, where as previously, Governor Schwarzenegger had vetoed the bill more than once. Students attending California community colleges will be able to apply for the Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver, which will waive educational fees for qualifying low-income students. For AB 540 students attending 4-year California public colleges and universities, these students will be able to participate in any state-administered financial aid programs such as Cal Grants based on need not competitive based funding. However, funds for competitive Cal Grants will not be made available to undocumented students unless there are funds remaining after California residents have received theirs. According to the state budget office, there are 2,500 students who will benefit from AB 131. Only 33% of the 2,500 AB 540 students in California are undocumented and AB 131 will only affect 1% of the California state budget allocated for Cal Grants.

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Implementation of AB 131 Assembly Bill 131 will be implemented in January 1, 2013. For Cal Grants or other state funded assistance, the California Student Aid Commission will develop a system or separate application for applying to aid given that undocumented students cannot apply for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) in order to determine their income level and need. Information on new processes will be disseminated as soon as it becomes available. AB 130 alleviates some of the financial strain of paying for higher education for AB 540 undocumented students. However, in recent years there have been continuous cuts to student aid as well as increases in tuition and fees. Many AB 540 undocumented students are now stuck with having to decide whether to wait for the implementation of AB 131 or find other means, like some have done in the past, to pay for their education. We urge our readers to please share this newsletter with others as well as offering any monetary contribution to IDEAS at UCLA. Donations will directly go to the Making The Dream a Reality Scholarship fund. With more available scholarship funds, the more increased retention of undocumented students at UCLA.

Donate to IDEAS

Paying through checks is easy! Donate through PayPal! Why PayPal? Steps: It's Private PayPal does not reveal your financial information to sellers.

1. Write check to IDEAS 2. In the memo, specify if it's for the "Scholarship Fund" or "Dream Act Campaign"

It's Easy Donate money in just a few clicks.

3. Mail check to: It's Trusted Advanced fraud prevention helps keep you secure.

220 Westwood Boulevard Community Programs Office 105 Student Activity Center, 106C Los Angeles, CA 90095-1454

Visit us online at to donate!



2016 WINTER 2012

The Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act The Federal DREAM Act unlike the California Dream Act, will provide a pathway toward citizenship for undocumented youth. The Federal Dream Act of 2009 stated that any beneficiaries of the act must have proof of having arrived in the United States by the age of 16, have proof of residency in the United States of at least five consecutive years upon arrival, must be registered with the Selective Service (if male), must be between the ages of 12 and 35, must demonstrate good moral character, and has a U.S. high school diploma or equivalent along with attending or accepted admittance into an institution of higher learning. If qualifications are met, DREAM Act eligible youth can attain conditional permanent residency, which would allow undocumented students up to six years of a probation period in the U.S. under normal circumstances rather than having indefinite permanent residency. This will count towards the residency requirements for naturalization. Conditional permanent residency would grant DREAM act eligible youth to work, drive, and go to school except they would not be eligible for Pell Grants and other federally funded grants. To be eligible for permanent residency, these qualifications can be one or more of the following: graduate from a two-year community college, have completed at least two years of a four year university, or have participated in the military for two years. If these qualifications are not met within the six year probation period, DREAM Act eligible youth can request an extension along with demonstration of good cause. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security can also waive and allow for permanent residency for compelling reasons and if removal of the student would result in extremely unusual hardship to the student or student’s spouse, parent, or child.

There was a lot of controversy over certain parts of the 2009 version of this bill, and changes were made in 2010. The 2010 Federal Dream Act contained the following changes: • • • • • •

• •

* Currently the Federal Dream Act remains to be re-introduced and go through the federal legislative process of becoming law. There is


It would not force states to charge in-state tuition. It would not give out Pell Grants or other financial aid. The age cap for eligibility would be 29. The person must have been in the U.S. since the age of 15 or younger. Once qualifications for permanent residency are met, there will be a 2-year waiting period. To qualify, the person must have knowledge of U.S. history and the English language, proof of payment of taxes and has met all other requirements from the 2009 version. A person who has committed crimes such as marriage fraud and illegal voting, poses a threat to public safety, or is in the process of deportation will not be eligible. DREAM Act eligible youth must wait at least 12 years to sponsor the U.S. citizenship of solely immediate family members. People will not be able to receive any government help from programs such as Medicaid. Once conditional residency requirements are met, the individual will have a year to submit their application, therefore those who meet the requirements upon the passing of the bill will have one year to submit their DREAM Act application. Once the application for conditional residency is submitted, the individual may qualify to receive a stay of deportation if put in deportation proceedings while their application is pending, Finally, the Department of Homeland Security can access and share all DREAM Act applications to any U.S. law, intelligence, or national security enforcement agency for any criminal investigation, legal prosecution, or for reasons of threat to U.S. homeland security.



What Now?

Another newsletter will be sent out towards the end of the academic year so please expect to read more on IDEAS at UCLA and our activities. As a reader, you also have the ability to let everyone know about the opportunities and information available to AB 540/Undocumented Students. If you or anyone you know would like to make a donation, please visit us at or simply return to the donation page of this newsletter. Until then‌

see you again in the summer!

IDEAS Winter Newsletter 2012  

Improving Dreams, Equality, Access, and Success (IDEAS) at UCLA is the support and advocacy group for ab 540/undocumented students here at U...

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