Phoenix Union lends support to federal DREAM Act
Arizona Republic, The (Phoenix, AZ)
January 14, 2007

PHOENIX (AP) - A city school board is supporting a federal bill that would allow undocumented immigrant students to get the same financial help for college as other students.

The Phoenix Union High School District board on Thursday unanimously approved a resolution in support of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

The bill, which has languished in Congress since its introduction in 2003, would allow students who entered the country illegally as children to legalize their status and qualify for in-state tuition, financial aid and scholarships.

Though the bill's fate depends on federal lawmakers, new board President David Lujan said he wanted the board to express its support of undocumented students.

"We think that every single one of them deserve an education," Lujan said.

Under current federal and state laws, undocumented students must pay out-of-state tuition.

Superintendent Raj Chopra expressed concern over the board's resolution to support the federal bill, though Chopra said he believes in what the bill would mean for students. He said he thinks it is a matter best left to lawmakers.

In a memo to board members, Chopra said he is worried that the resolution would call undue attention to the district's undocumented students.

Federal law prohibits school districts from keeping records of students' citizenship.

Immigrant rights groups in Arizona recently have revived interest in the Dream Act.

Last week, about 500 protesters carrying signs in support of the bill marched toward the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale before the national championship game between Ohio State and Florida.

The protesters, who were mostly high school and college students, said that immigrant students deserved the same edcational advantages as their peers.

Glendale police turned the protesters away before they got to the stadium. Several were cited for organizing the march without a permit.