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Transcript of Latin Americans
Myths about Undocumented Immigrants
The DREAM Act
Myths about Undocumented Immigrants:
Many, otherwise, law-abiding individuals believe that U.S. immigration laws operate in an unfair & unjust fashion and therefore are illegitimate (i.e. Bracero Program, NAFTA, & Congress, etc.).
Many Latin Americans believe they are trying to be kept out due to racial biases (i.e. racial profiling).
Mexicans have inhabited North America longer than the English speaking people.
Attitudes & Beliefs About Illegal Immigration-
There is technically no such thing as an "anchor baby." Yes, a person born on U.S. soil is automatically a citizen but his or her families are often deported back to their country.
Undocumented Immigrants receive benefits without paying taxes:
According to the Social Security Administration: "half to three-quarters of undocumented immigrants pay federal, state and local taxes, including $6 billion to $7 billion in Social Security taxes for benefits they will never get."
Undocumented Immigrants take American jobs:
Research has shown that there is limited correlation between the presence of undocumented & documented immigrant labor and unemployment rates of native U.S. citizens.
The majority of immigrants in the U.S. are here illegally:
The majority of Latinos(a) in the U.S. are native-born. In 2012 53 million people identified themselves as Latino(a) or Hispanic, 18.9 million were immigrants
Immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally are automatically criminals:
Undocumented immigrants are not criminals; by law they are committing a civil offense and therefore are not committing a crime. There is a difference between unlawful presence & improper or illegal entry.
Undocumented Immigrants bring crime:
Native-born Americans are imprisoned and jailed in much higher numbers than foreign-born individuals.
Immigrants of today can enter the U.S legally just as easily as the early immigrants of the past:
In early history of the U.S. the first 100 years had an "open immigration system..." unlike the various rules & requirements of today for the legal entry & stay of immigrants.
Undocumented immigrants are flooding into the U.S. like never before:
The current policy of immigration today is much more restricting than that of the late 1700's to the early 1900's. The current foreign-born population is only about 12 percent of the U.S. population, a big difference from the historic high of 20 percent in 1900. Since the recession of 2008 there has actually been a decline of the number of undocumented immigrants entering the country.
Today’s immigrants refuse to learn English:
As recent as 1917 there were areas in the U.S. that had a strong German presence with well over "700 German-language newspapers." So while many immigrants of today might speak their first language in their homes many of them speak English "well or very well" and there is an increasing demand for ESL classes and programs.
Anti-Defamation League (2014). What is the dream act and who are the dreamers? Retrieved from http://www.adl.org/assets/pdf/education-outreach/what-is-the-dream-act-and-who-are-the-dreamers.pdf
Batalova, J., & McHugh, M. (2010). DREAM vs. reality: An analysis of potential DREAM act beneficiaries. Retrieved from http://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/dream-vs-reality-analysis-potential-dream-act-beneficiaries
Bruno, A. (2012). Unauthorized alien students: Issues and “DREAM act” legislation. Retrieved from http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33863.pdf
Center for American Progress (2010). Fact sheet: The DREAM act. Retrieved from http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/report/2010/12/01/8731/fact-sheet-the-dream-act/
Farina, M. D. (2013). Failure to mourn “white nativism”: Impact of deportation on Hispanic American -born children and mixed status families. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 83, 139-169, DOI: 10.1080/00377317.2013.803362
Gonzales, R. (2010). Investing in the American dream: The dream act would allow undocumented youth to give back to America. Retrieved from http://immigrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/docs/Gonzales__Investing_in_the_American_DREAM_120210.pdf
Foley, E. (2013). Immigration bill would expand DREAM act to dreamers of all ages. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/17/immigration-bill-dream-act_n_3101315.html#
Hagan, J. M., Rodriguez, N., & Castro, B. (2011). Social effects of mass deportation by the United States government, 2000-2010. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34, 1374-1391, doi: 10.1080/01419870.2011.575233
Immigration Policy Center (2010). Dispelling DREAM act myths. Retrieved from http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/dispelling-dream-act-myths
Immigration Policy Center (2012). A comparison of the DREAM act and other proposals for undocumented youth. Retrieved from http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/comparison-dream-act-and-other-proposals-undocumented-youth
Kim, C. (2013). Lost American DREAM of undocumented students: Understanding the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) act. Children & Schools, 35, 55-58. doi: 10.1093/cs/cds041
Planas, R. (2014). These are the real reasons behind illegal immigration. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/25/undocumented-mexicans_n_5709141.html
Semotiuk, A., J. (2014). Immigration: The myth of the ‘Anchor Baby’. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/andyjsemotiuk/2014/09/22/immigration-the-myth-of-the-anchor-baby/
Silsby, G. (2013). Why people take the risk of illegal immigration. University of Southern California, Futurity. Retrieved from http://www.futurity.org/why-people-take-the-risk-of-illegal-immigration/
Snider, B. (2014). Is illegal immigration a crime? Improper entry v. unlawful presence. Retrieved from
Sue, D.W. & Sue, D. (2013). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (6th ed). John Wiley
Swain, C. (2002). The new white nationalism in America: Its challenge to integration. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Teaching Tolerance (2011). 10 myths about immigration. Retrieved from http://www.tolerance.org/immigration-myths
The Dream is Now (2010). Fact sheet: The DREAM act. Retrieved from http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/report/2010/12/01/8731/fact-sheet-the-dream-act/
TheDreamIsNowOrg (Apr 2, 2013). The dream is now trailer [video file]. Retrieved from Youtube
The Experience Project (2012). Timeline of the DREAM act. Retrieved from http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Immigration/2379166
Urban Institute. (2010). Children of immigrants: Data tool. Retrieved from http://datatool.urban.org/charts/datatool/pages.cfm
Alana Harper, Jennifer Starr
Social, Political, & Historical:
The DREAM Act:
The DREAM Act:
The Dream Act
(Development, Relief and Education for Minors Act): A bill in Congress that would have granted legal status to certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and went to school here.
To help those individuals who meet certain requirements, have an opportunity to enlist in the military or go to college and have a path to citizenship which they otherwise would not have without this legislation. Under current immigration law, most of these young people have no way to gain legal residency even though they have lived in the U.S. most of their lives. Although several versions of the bill have been introduced in Congress since 2001,
it has never passed.
Each year about
undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools and face uncertain futures due to their lack of legal status. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2020, nearly 700,000 children and young adults would be eligible to earn permanent residence under the Dream Act if passed.
of the DREAM Act believe it is vital not only to the people who would benefit from it, but also the United States as a whole. It would give the opportunity to undocumented immigrant students who have been living in the U.S. since they were young, a chance to contribute back to the country that has given so much to them and a chance to utilize their hard earned education and talents.
Who are the DREAMers?
DREAMers are different from most nonimmigrants. They are undocumented youth brought to the U.S. at a young age and are likely to benefit from the passing of The Dream Act.
DREAMers are also activists
There are 1.7 million DREAMer eligible youth
Generally have few ties to their home country, little or no intention of moving back permanently, and have every hope of becoming a U.S. citizen.
Have been raised and educated in America and identify as American
Many of these children do not realize they are illegal until years after they come to the United States
The United States is the only country they have ever called home and now they live in fear of deportation to a country where they may not have any family or connection
DREAMers have the same hopes and dreams as any other American kid. The Dream Act would provide an opportunity for them to live up to their full potential and contribute to the U.S economy and society.
Specific requirements one would need in order to qualify for the current version of the DREAM Act.
Must have entered the United States before the age of 16
Must have been present in the United States for at least five (5) consecutive years prior to enactment of the bill
Must have graduated from a United States high school, or have obtained a GED, or have been accepted into an institution of higher education (i.e. college/university)
Must be between the ages of 12 and 35 at the time of application
Must have good moral character
Counselor needs to assess client & client's family's level of acculturation & family structure.
Practice "respectful, warm, and mutual introduction with the client" (Sue, 2013).
Important as counselors to watch language used with this population. The term “illegal alien” is offensive because the words sound like someone is being unlawful & can dehumanize the person (Gonzales, 2010).
Be sure to provide well explained limits of confidentiality.
Discuss the roles of the different individuals present and possible expectations, especially for "less acculturated" individuals & families (Sue, 2013).
Allow the client to describe how they view the presenting problem.
Determine whether religion or spirituality is a factor or presence in the clients life or value system.
Help the client to identify their available resources.
Work with the client to determine their goals and "prioritize" the areas of concern (Sue, 2013).
Be aware of outside struggles (i.e. employment, income, food, etc.).
Make sure the client understands the treatment and is in agreement with the process.
Determine if a translator is needed & make sure any assessments/test are linguistically & culturally appropriate.
It's important to be aware of sociopolitical issues and events that may impact the client or their community.
Rapport is an important factor in the client-counselor relationship. Due to the stigma related to mental illnesses it is important to provide psychoeducation.
In some Latino families, family issues take priority over personal problems/concerns. The counselor can ask about the level of "connectedness" with other family members and whether the client would like to have them participate in the therapeutic process (Sue, 2013).
The DREAM Act has been part of the legislative agenda for over a decade. Since its introduction in 2001 it has been granted acclaim and at the same time criticized. Many opponents of the bill have claimed that it is a form of amnesty and allows illegal immigration to continue with the states bearing the cost.
In 2011 the governor of California signed into law the California Dream Act. The new law allows immigrants to apply to, and receive, private college scholarships. Another separate bill that is in the legislature would allow immigrants to seek publicly funded scholarships as well.
On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama announced that his administration would stop deporting young illegal immigrants who match certain criteria previously proposed under the DREAM ACT-
While Congress debates issues regarding comprehensive immigration reform, the Department of Homeland Security implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, effective August 15, 2012, in hopes of providing some form of temporary relief to the DREAMers in the U.S. The DACA Program mirrors many of the requirements first proposed by Senators in the DREAM Act of 2001
The DREAM Act:
TheDreamIsNowOrg. Retrieved from Youtube
(Teaching Tolerance, 2011)
(Teaching Tolerance, 2011)
(Teaching Tolerance, 2011)
(Anti-Defamation League, 2014)
(Center for American Progress, 2010)
All American youth, particularly those living in poverty, experience significant challenges when trying to further their education. Undocumented immigrant youth confront even more disturbing mix of circumstances making succeeding in higher education even more difficult.
There are no current available paths out of poverty for these immigrant children after schooling is complete without laws like the Dream Act.
Scarce family resources and exclusion from federal and state financial aid severely limit post-secondary goals.
Confusing and contradictory messages and laws allow them to legally attend school but deny them opportunities to vote, drive, work, and receive financial aid alienating them from being contributing members of society.
Live with a constant sense of fear knowing they can be deported to countries they barely know at any time
Feelings of hopelessness because current laws do not allow them to pursue their dreams. Their efforts to adapt and contribute economically are met with legal obstacles. Rather than value immigrants as societal resources, current laws restrict their options and potential to positively contribute to their communities.
Today's undocumented youth are experiencing a hostile political backlash and rising anti-immigrant sentiment. Hate crimes aimed at Latino immigrants have gained visibility and immigration raids of homes and workplaces have intensified resulting in deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
Denial of legal rights, educational and work opportunities continues the vicious cycle of poverty, disenfranchisement, and frustration among this population.
Individuals who have high levels of acculturation & those who avoid acculturation tend to face higher levels of stress.
Emotional and behavioral struggles may result from being victims of "racism & discrimination."
Latino/a individuals are more likely to drop out of school, with many factors contributing to the issue.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported less than 21% of Latino/as have less than a ninth grade education & according to the Pew Hispanic Center, White medium income households are 18% wealthier than Latino households & between 2005 to 2009 medium income fell 66% from "$18,359 to & $6,234" (Sue, 2013).
Anglo settlers arrived in North America about a century after the Spanish colonizers. Originally the people working for the Spanish in the 16th-17th centuries were made up of indigenous & Spanish and indigenous & African heritage; who are known today as Mexicans.
Around the 19th century large amounts of Anglo settlers immigrated, usually illegally, into the areas of Texas that were Mexican territories from a newly independent United States in efforts to find land and other opportunities.
After the Mexicans lost the Mexican-American war the area that belonged to Mexico is now known as the U.S. Southwest.
Overall, since 1995 immigrants and their children have been responsible for 90% of the population growth in the United States (Swain, 2002, p.85).
2007 and 2008, 20% of the American native-born children were born to a non-native–born parent; of this 20%, 52.7% had a Hispanic non-native– born parent, who in 86.19% of the cases was of Mexican origin (Urban Institute, 2010).
By 2050 statistic projection suggest that racial and ethnic minorities will constitute at least 47% of the US population (Swain, 2002, p.85).
Past, Present & Future:
During World War II America was in need for laborers. Due to the large demand the Bracero Program was enacted in 1942. Bracero translated into English means manual labor, this act allowed Mexican & other Latin American diplomatic status to work in America under a contract to be laborers.
The U.S. recruited immigrants for temporary farm jobs at a lower cost to meet its labor needs (1942-1964) More than 4.6 million Mexicans immigrated illegally into the U.S. In 1964 the Bracero Program was revoked due to the increase of service men coming back from World War II & finding that many of the jobs were replaced with Latin American laborers. The men returning from war felt like the Bracero program was creating competition for jobs.
First immigration law started in 1954 called Project Wetback, this law allowed for the deportation of over a million undocumented workers (Farina, 2013).
Congress drastically capped available Visa’s:
During the mid-20th century the U.S. had a continuous need for “Mexican labor,” however; Congress decided to end the Bracero Program and cap the number of available visas to Mexican immigrants (Planas, 2014).
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (INA) “prohibited unskilled Mexican laborers from receiving Legal Permanent Resident visas, despite U.S. demand for labor and a large pool of unskilled labor in Mexico.” It is no surprise that from 1965 to 1970 the number of undocumented Mexicans caught crossing illegally tripled (Planas, 2014).
In 1976, there were 300,000 backlogged Mexican applicants desiring U.S. immigration. A year later in 1977 Congress drastically capped the number of immigrant visas for Mexicans at 20,000, which is dramatically out of balance with “U.S. demand for Mexican labor and the supply of qualified and interested applicants.” (Planas, 2014).
Due to globalization both Mexican and American economies began to dramatically change, the same time Mexico was experiencing a baby boom. With the development of the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) these changes were accelerated (Planas, 2014).
According to NPR, NAFTA put close to 2 million Mexican farmers out of work due to the U.S. flooding the Mexican market with low-cost subsidized corn imports. The Nation estimates show that in 1992 there were 2 million tons of corn imports (2 years before the treaty) and in 2008 that estimate rapidly increased to 10.3 million tons (Planas, 2014).
Immigration Laws-Political & Social:
Comprise of white Anglo Saxon, Protestant men who believe that globalization has made America go from a single national identity to a transnational identity. They are upset with the change in identity and feel like their culture is being lost.
White Nativism Beliefs:
Presence of Latin American immigrants are the cause of the decline in high wage , non-skilled jobs overseas, & increased competition between white unskilled workers & immigrant workers.
Concern with the loss of American culture & concerned it is being replaced by black & brown cultures that are intellectually & morally inferior. In an effort to get control & preserve American culture immigration laws were enacted (Farina, 2013).
There is racial bias which is evident through racial profiling and how “immigration enforcement under certain circumstances is a legally-sanctioned practice under Fourth Amendment jurisprudence” (Silsby, 2013).
Immigration Law Timeline:
- Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility act (IIRIRA): This was the first act in the 90’s that increased deportation by increasing the offenses for which immigrants could be deported
- Anti-terrorism and effective death penalty act (AEDPA): Increased the enforcement authority of the federal government by almost eliminating judicial review for most categories of immigrants subject to deportation. By weakening judicial review, AEDPA removed the legal constraints that protected noncitizens from deportation and thus eliminated relief for noncitizens.
- USA Patriot Act : This act detained & deported immigrants who were perceived to be a threat to national security.
- Project End Game: The Department of Homeland and Security (DHS) started End Game as a strategic plan in 2003 to move all deportable immigrants by 2012.
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): Dedicated to apprehending, detaining and deporting ‘criminal and fugitive’ noncitizens long after their arrival. 287(g)program: One of ICE’s top partnership initiatives. This program trains state and local police to identify, process and detain suspects and immigrants during their encounter in regular law enforcement activity.
- Arizona SB 1070: Arizona allows law enforcement to run checks on the immigration status of individuals when there is "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in the country illegally. Law enforcement is directed to verify, with federal authorities, the immigration status of the individual; if the individual is in the country illegally then they will be moved to the "custody of federal immigration authorities." Those individuals who are arrested will have their immigration status checked by having their fingerprints run through a database.