The Development Relief and Eductation for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act  is a bill that would affect the approximately 65,000 students who graduate from US high schools each year with no hope for a future, due to a decision that was made for them when they were young children; five thousand of them graduate annually in Florida alone. Because they are undocumented, these DREAMers cannot get a job, go to college, join the military, get a driver's license, or even donate blood. The DREAM Act (Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act) would create a pathway for undocumented youth - if they meet stringent requirements - to obtain access to higher education, to have the opportunity to serve in the U.S. military and to eventually establish legal US residency. Currently, no such legal pathway exists, so undocumented young people are stuck in a liminal reality where they officially belong nowhere.

Please click HERE to learn more about the DREAM Act.

Resources for the DREAM Act

Florida Immigrant Youth Network
United We DREAM

Scholarship Opportunities & Helpful Websites

MALDEF Scholarship List
Latino College Dollars
UCSB Resources for Undocumented Students
Fast Web
Migrant Scholarships
MN Page Education Foundation
CORE Scholarship
La Vida Scholars
Davis Putter Scholarship Fund
Salvadorian American Leadership and Education Fund
Western Union Family Scholarship Program
Creative Organizing Conference Scholarships
DREAMActivist Education Scholarships
1000 Degrees

February 2012: 
IAIJ Campaigns for In-State Tuition for Otherwise Qualified Florida Students

During the 2012 session of the Florida legislature, Gainesville's Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice campaigned for SB 108 which would allow children of undocumented immigrants who otherwise qualified for in-state tuition to attend Florida instititutions of higher education on that basis.  They are currently required to pay three times that amount as "international students".

Victor Yengle organized a candlelight vigil at Senator Steve Oelrich's office, where the Gainesville Senator, a staunch opponent of any change, defended his stand.

    IAIJ members gather at Senator Steve Oelrich's Gainesville office (above) and (below) Sen. Oelrich defends his position. 

November 2010

Officials speak in support of DREAM act

Posted: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 12:13 am
With the next session for the U.S. Congress looming, local supporters of the DREAM Act stood on the steps of Tigert Hall to drum up support for legislation. In a statement read by UF professor Paul Ortiz, UF President Bernie Machen said he supports the legislation because everyone should have equal access to education. “By supporting this federal legislation, we are acknowledging that education is a human right and that these students, regardless of citizenship status, should have equal access to institutions of higher education,” he wrote.
City commissioner Jeanna Mastrodicasa spoke on behalf of Mayor Craig Lowe in support of the act, which would create a means for undocumented youth to gain citizenship.
Mastrodicasa, who is also an assistant vice president for student affairs at UF, said the act will allow young people who want to contribute to society to be recognized by the country they call home.
She also noted the increases in tax revenue that would ensue.
“They will work more and pay more taxes,” she said.
Local supporters introduced an undocumented 19-year-old Gainesville college student, who wished to remain anonymous, to publicly share her story for the first time.
An aspiring journalist who has been in the country for more than half of her life, she said she just wants the ability to follow her dream, as do many in her situation.
“I think that they deserve to be called an American,” she said.

                                                         Allan Brooks, Mica DeJulio, Kimberly Hunter, Vickie Mena
                                                                                 Rev. Eve MacMaster speaking
                                                                                Jeanna Mastrodicasa speaking

October 2010

Interfaith Alliance promotes DREAM Act for undocumented workers

Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2010 12:02 am | Updated: 12:05 am, Thu Oct 21, 2010.
They graduated from U.S. high schools. They're students at U.S. universities. They're fighting overseas for this country. And they're not allowed to be here. Undocumented aliens brought to the United States as children may have lived here for the majority of their lives and consider themselves Americans, but the law disagrees. The Gainesville Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice held an educational presentation Wednesday night to inform community members about a legislative proposal called the DREAM Act.
The DREAM Act targets the issue of undocumented immigrants, of which there are 12 million in the U.S., and it provides solutions to change the laws that keep them from citizenship.
In a small, quiet room at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville, hosts Vickie Mena and Kimberly Hunter preached to a group of less than 20 the importance of why they believe this act should be passed.
"We feel like it's something that has a possibility to become a reality," said Hunter, a UF alumnus.
DREAM stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors. It states that if an undocumented alien was brought to the U.S. before the age of 16 has a U.S. high school diploma or GED certificate, has lived in the country for at least five consecutive years, and has no criminal record, he or she can be granted conditional permanent residency.
In order to complete the process, the undocumented alien would have to complete two years of military service or two years at a four-year university.
According to Mena, program coordinator for the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, and her research, passing the DREAM Act would save taxpayers money, aid military recruitment and satisfy needs in the labor force for jobs such as teachers and nurses.
It was unanimous, however, that the largest problem surrounding the DREAM Act is that the public doesn't know what it is.
The act was voted on by Congress a few weeks ago but wasn't passed.
"I got a lot of phone calls that day from kids in tears," Mena said.
She said that the issue directly affects UF students. She could think of six or seven students who she knows are undocumented and struggling to finish their education and plan their futures.
The DREAM Act will be voted on as a stand-alone bill between Nov. 2 and January. Mena said the best way to raise awareness is to sign petitions, spread the word and call congressmen. She and Hunter also hope to speak to campus or community groups who are interested in learning more.
Through their presentations, Mena and Hunter have gathered 679 signatures on the DREAM Act petition since July 27. Mena said it's a great start, but they still have a long way to go.
"It doesn't really end with DREAM," Mena said. "But it's something we can do."