With President Obama’s recent announcement to halt the deportation of undocumented students, advocates for immigrants in Massachusetts are speaking up about their support for the plan. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…
Conrado Santos is speaking about President Obama’s announcement made last week that he would not deport foreign nationals that came to the country illegally as children that meet educational standards. Santos is undocumented and came to the US as a young teen from Brazil with his parents. After graduating High School, Santos tried to work his way through college in Boston but couldn’t afford to remain a full time student. He’s now organizing for the Student Immigrant Movement – a coalition of fellow, young undocumented individuals advocating for comprehensive immigration reform.
Frank Soultes, of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition – or MIRA – says that students like Santos may now qualify for in-state tuition.
Soultes mentioned that immigration reform is necessary because immigrants are a boon to the state’s economy.
Large populations of legal and illegal immigrants live in cities across the state, but Hilary Greene of the Berkshire Immigrant Center says that the public is sometimes unaware of those living in Western-most portion of the Commonwealth.
Greene said that the move by President Obama will give approximately 100 young people in Berkshire County the ability to continue their education after High School.
MIRA estimates that between 11 and 20 thousand people in Massachusetts would be affected by the DREAM act if it were to ever pass.
While Conrado Santos is overjoyed by the president’s promise, he still feels that more reform is necessary.