San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, started his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention last night with the story of his grandmother’s migration from Mexico. The first Latino to deliver the keynote, Castro, was introduced by his brother Joaquin, a representative in the Texas legislature. The speech illustrated his support for greater investment in education and a need for comprehensive immigration reform. He lauded President Obama’s deferred action plan that protects undocumented youth from deportation and called on Congress to pass the DREAM Act. As reported in the Tucson Citizen:
“Because he knows that we don’t have an ounce of talent to waste, the president took action to lift the shadow of deportation from a generation of young, law-abiding immigrants called ‘dreamers,’ ” Castro said. “Now, it’s time for Congress to enshrine in law their right to pursue their dreams in the only place they’ve ever called home: America.”
The Democratic position on immigration was released Monday as part of the party platform. It renews Mr. Obama’s 2008 promise of comprehensive immigration reform, stating:
Democrats know there is broad consensus to repair (the immigration) system and strengthen our economy, and that the country urgently needs comprehensive immigration reform that brings undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and requires them to get right with the law, learn English, and pay taxes in order to get on a path to earn citizenship.
This is a marked difference from the Republican platform released last week in Tampa, that encourages self-deportation of undocumented immigrants.
The blog Migra Matters, while acknowledging that aspects of the Democratic platform are good for undocumented workers, worries that “the platform is still mired down in the language of enforcement and criminalization that marked previous failed efforts at reform.” The blog post discusses the idea that the language has been massaged to appeal to centrists and focus groups saying:
“it’s notable to see the language shift from one of providing undocumented migrants the “opportunity” to become full members of society, (as has always been the verbiage) … to “require(ing) them to come out of the shadows and get right with the law” …this is no small difference.
In other immigration news, on Tuesday, a federal judge struck down a Florida rule that required children of undocumented immigrants to pay out of state tuition rates at Florida’s public universities and colleges. U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore found that classifying students as non-residents because of their parent’s immigration status violates the equal protection amendment in the U.S. Constitution. Reports the Miami Herald:
“By virtue of their classification, (these Florida students) are denied a benefit in the form of significantly lower tuition rates to the state’s public post-secondary educational institutions,” the judge found in a 19-page opinion that was highly critical of the state’s policy.
“This creates an additional obstacle for (them) to attain post-secondary education from one of the state’s public institutions that is not faced by other residents.”
Students of undocumented immigrants, including US citizens, were required to pay three times as much tuition as other Floridians despite being residents of the state.