Learning the hard way

This is a radio piece I contributed to for Tamara Keith’s B-side Radio. It was part of a collaborative journalism project I worked on for the UC Berkeley Law School’s Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity. The project focused on AB 540, the California law that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.

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Excerpt from program:

We’re learning the hard way. This edition of B-Side is about a group of people struggling to learn, to make it in college. And we’re not talking about the usual too many units not enough time kind of trouble. These students are undocumented immigrants – most brought here by their parents when they were too young to have any say in the matter. And now they’re dealing with the consequences.

There are all kinds of difficulties those of us who were born here would never even think about. Tam Tran, a graduate student at Brown University in American Studies helps us navigate the issue. Tam is undocumented.

Conflict in California: Jude Joffe-Block
In California a law called AB 540 allows students who graduate from California high schools to pay in-state tuition at state colleges. This in-state rate applies even to students who are undocumented, which makes it controversial. Jude Joffe-Block introduces us to people on both sides of the legal debate.

Cupcakes for College: Martin Ricard
Martin takes us to Lighthouse charter school in downtown Oakland where students have formed an organization to raise money to help their fellow undocumented classmates who need funds for college.

Campus Support Services: Karen Weise
Karen visits Cal State Long Beach where the university has a program to train faculty and staff to help undocumented students. Staff who complete the training get a sticker to put on their office door that lets students know they can go to them with questions and issues regarding their status.

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