Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Education > Obama’s “Oportunidad” for college scholarships should include Dream Act students

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

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.

Related posts


  • Femlib1983
    October 27, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Right on! These questions should be asked. kudos to you for asking

  • Dave Bennion
    October 27, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Obama, if he wins, will have a lot of expectations to meet. But this certainly has to be one of them. The DREAM Act is a nobrainer for progressives. If Obama doesn’t want to put any political capital on the line for pro-migrant voters, then he should plan on getting a lot of criticism from them.

    October 28, 2008 at 8:35 am

    The U.S. government, which is already financially pinched, can not afford to be everything for everyone in this country. Those to be provided for first should be American CITIZENS, not illegals, anchor babies or those here to reap benefits intended to be for CITIZENS. The students you speak of are in an unfortunate situation, but their own parents are the ones that created the problem.

  • Alex
    October 28, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Kudos Obama. Doing the right thing!!!

  • laura
    October 30, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Alex, he hasn’t done the right thing yet. He has not included DREAM act students in his $4,000 plan.
    We have to push him to do that, just as he will not stop the raids and introduce fair immigration reform if we don’t push him. I say this as a hard-working person who gave two of my precious Sundays to go door to door for the Obama campaign.
    Kudos to Marisa for asking the question and for making the point here.

  • melissa
    April 23, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    It’s not fair that this is target for latin college students. I am a white female with no family who wants to go to college. I only need spanish, math, and science before I have my AA. I had saved but ran out of my savings and can’t find a roommate with a job. But my school says i make too much (19,500 per year) for scholarships. I don’t have cable tv or internet or go out. I pay my electric bill and rent on time and have no idea how ill pay car insurance next month. But I usually pay my bills on time and in full. How am I making too much money. I’ve volunteer for 2 yrs hoping i’ll get some kind of scholarship money. I keep saying maybe it will help me land a job later. I know things are tough and others have it tougher… but the latin population is going to be more than the white male population if you look at cencus.

  • debbie
    May 16, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    $4ooo dolars isn’t enough-college courses are more like $77000 plus the student needs money to live so they can study-for food,shelter-rent and electric bills etcThis is therefore of no use or help to anyone.Why don’t u copy the British system where everyone can get a degree and support why they study,as a loan which they can later pay back to the state if they then get a job and earn more than 14000 pounds a year.Or even the russian system where evryone gets to go to university and to have a proffession?

  • guadalupe gutierrez
    June 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    i am looking forward of been able to participate in this program.. keep me informed

Comments are closed.