Freedom University representatives will host a panel at the University of Georgia Thursday to discuss the potential implications of recent changes to the DREAM Act for undocumented students.
The DREAM Act, first introduced in 2001, is a bill which allows undocumented students to gain citizenship if they immigrated before the age of 16 and if they agree to serve in the military or acquire a college degree. During Thursday's forum, panel members will discuss President Barack Obama's recent announcement that his administration will suspend deportation of students who qualify under the act.
's English Department Chair Ian Altman wrote in an e-mail that the aim of the forum is to inform people about the new policy. The forum is also meant to raise awareness about the legal, ethical and political questions the policy might bring up.
Altman said forum organizers "want to spread awareness of the importance of the DREAM Act for some of our students, and to emphasize that it should remain a priority even with this new [Department of Homeland Security] policy."
"I think [the forum] is important for Athens residents because there are so many good students living here who have earned a shot at a good life in this country," he wrote. "I also think that there is a great deal of misinformation out there about what these residents 'cost' us and why we should be helping them rather than hindering them. We want to counteract that misinformation and make more widely known how big an issue this is, and why it is important for our whole community to help these kids lead good, productive lives."
The panel will include a Clarke Central High School graduate who will be attending Syracuse University, UGA's Director of Immigration Services Robin Catmur, Altman, Freedom University faculty member Lorgia Garcia-Pena and immigration attorney Charles Kuck.
The panel will be held at the Coverdell Center on UGA's south campus at 6 p.m.