Obama’s “Oportunidad” for college scholarships should include Dream Act students

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LatinaLista — Today, the Obama campaign announced how they were spending the last of the $20 million budgeted to reach Latino voters. Obama will deliver a 30-minute “commercial” on Univision this Wednesday night.

It will be a translated version of an infomercial-type ad that will run in English on CBS, FOX and NBC. It’s called “Barack Obama: Historias Americanas,” or “Barack Obama: American Stories.”
The 30-minute piece is the last installment of an advertising series targeting Latino voters. During a telephone press conference announcing this 30-minute piece, another ad in the series, called “Oportunidad,” was discussed. It’s about Obama’s intention to provide a $4,000 scholarship to students to go to college if they commit to working in some community service program upon graduation.
While I’m in favor of such a program, I couldn’t help but think if those students who are considered “Dream Act” students would qualify for such a program. Seeing that Senator Obama has always been vocal in his support of these students, it seems a perfect way to also subsidize their education and allow them to work after graduation.
Well, I was told by Gov. Bill Richardson and an Obama campaign representative who were on the call that the Dream Act is a separate program and that those students wouldn’t qualify for these scholarships. Actually, I coudn’t tell if they were uncomfortable that I asked the question given the nuclear explosiveness of the politics on the issue or just thought it was a stupid question.
But I knew what I was asking.


I thought it ironic that the Obama campaign would create an ad (it follows this post) targeting Spanish-speaking parents about providing $4,000 in college scholarships when 60,000 children of these same parents will be left out of the program.
I think it’s particularly ironic since this group of students was as instrumental as their peers in getting politicians to notice the strength of the Latino electorate during the immigration marches. And from what I understand, they have played a big part promoting Obama among their friends and neighbors who can vote.
It’s an understatement to say that Barack Obama brings a lot of hope. But it’s not just to the country he brings hope but to a select group of young people who are surprisingly still idealistic and believe the adage that one person can make a difference.
These children believe Obama will make that difference for them.
They have graduated with honors from their high schools, excelled in learning and have so much to offer this country but are confined to the sidelines agonizing over losing precious time to complete their dreams.
A lot of these children know no other country than the U.S. and even in some rare cases, they don’t even speak Spanish. So the argument to send them back where they came from is pointless and without merit.
A casual visit to any forum comprised of “Dream Act” participants reveals that they are placing a lot of hope and expectations on Barack Obama.
At this point, the future is unwritten.
Yet, it can only be hoped that if Obama should win this election that one of his first actions as President would be to address the future health of this country by not allowing good talent to go to waste which could otherwise hold the key to creating a solution for alternative fuels, the cure for cancer, a more effective educational system, preserving our water resources, etc.
November 5 will be the day when talking about change must stop — and begin. What better way to begin than with a group who still have dreams, believe that anything is possible and wholeheartedly want to create the kind of change that has been promoted in this election.