Tech leaders lend a hand to undocumented students who dream of college

At a rally in support of the Dream Act at Georgia State, police order students to move. Six students were arrested at the August protest. (mmartinez@mundohispanico.com )

At a Georgia State rally in support of the Dream Act, police order students to move. Six students were arrested at the August protest. (M. Martinez/mundohispanico)

The Wall Street Journal reports that the “titans” of Silicon Valley are coming to the aid of undocumented students who want to attend college in the United States, a dream that is being derailed by state legislatures intent on limiting access to their public colleges, including those in Georgia.

On Monday, the state Senate approved a bill that would bar illegal immigrants from attending all of Georgia’s 60 public colleges, the 35 colleges in the University System of Georgia and the 25 in Technical College System of Georgia.

If Senate Bill 458 becomes law, Georgia would join Alabama and South Carolina in barring undocumented students from its public college classrooms.

According to the AJC, Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, said his bill guarantees that taxpayer-supported colleges only serve citizens and those who are in the country lawfully. He maintains that said it’s wrong for illegal immigrants to take seats at these schools since they can’t legally work in the country after graduation.

But the Wall Street Journal article says a powerful, influential and wealthy group of innovation leaders — Jeff Hawkins, inventor of the Palm Pilot; and the family foundations of Andrew Grove, co-founder of Intel Corp.,  Mark Leslie, founder of the former Veritas Software Corp., and Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs — disagree with locking such students out of higher education.

According to the Journal:

The Silicon Valley money is part of a broader response by individuals and states to Congress, which hasn’t passed the Dream Act. That federal legislation would offer a path to legalization for illegal immigrants who graduate from a U.S. high school and attend college or join the military.  “We think Congress’s inaction…is devastating for these students and tragic for the country,” said Ms. Powell Jobs, who was one of the first in the tech community to champion the Dream Act by lobbying her congresswoman and writing an op-ed piece supporting the legislation.

The focus of the Silicon Valley philanthropists is Educators for Fair Consideration, or E4FC, a nonprofit that gives scholarships, career advice and legal services to students brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Companies that knowingly hire illegal immigrants can face civil and criminal penalties. Among other ideas, the Silicon Valley donors are studying the possibility of using unpaid internships as way for students to come to the attention of employers who might later sponsor them for a legal work visa. After helping a few dozen students through college with small donations, the San Francisco-based organization expanded with money from the tech leaders. It now has enlisted immigration attorneys to offer legal advice to hundreds of undocumented students.

“We used to think, ‘Let’s just get them through college’” with scholarships, said Katharine Gin, a teacher who founded E4FC along with a college counselor. “We thought the federal Dream Act would pass and we would be helping these students in the interim period only.”

Several of the Silicon Valley supporters became aware of the issue close up: Mr. Hawkins got to know an undocumented student at his daughters’ high school. Liz Simons, daughter of the founder of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, mentored an undocumented honor student in high school who was struggling to raise funds for college because of his illegal status. Seth Leslie, son of Veritas’s founder, had encountered undocumented students in his work as a schoolteacher and principal. The money involved is relatively small: The tech philanthropists and others gave hundreds of thousands dollars in the last year to the group, whose 2012 operating budget is $600,000.

California, Illinois and New York in recent months passed bills that enable undocumented students to receive financial aid for college. Thirteen states allow illegal immigrants who reside in their borders to pay in-state fee.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

126 comments Add your comment

Happy Kine and The Mirth Makers

March 6th, 2012
11:57 am

Since they are so concerned, perhaps these “Titans of industry” could go a little further and clothe, feed and house these illegals at their own personal residence.

Step right up, TITANS!!

Atlanta Mom

March 6th, 2012
12:08 pm

There’s a reason Silicon Valley is in California and not Georgia. NO visionaries here.

jay

March 6th, 2012
12:24 pm

Well said Atlanta Mom…

SoGaDawg

March 6th, 2012
12:25 pm

Maureen,

I’m not sure if you’re awre of it, but your headline has a typo in it. Illegal Aliens isn’t spelled correctly. For some reason you’re spelling it as “undocumented workers.” Just wanted to make you aware of this.

You’re welcome.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

March 6th, 2012
12:26 pm

Senate Bill 458 should become law IMMEDIATELY. There is no way on God’s green Earth that out-of-state students and legal immigrants should be allowed to take one of the precious few and very limited spots from the law-abiding and taxpaying citizens of the state of Georgia, so providing education at great cost and resource to ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS should be COMPLETELY OUT OF THE QUESTION.

Maureen Downey

March 6th, 2012
12:27 pm

Soga, Actually, I am “spelling” it as “undocumented students.”

Cindy Anderson

March 6th, 2012
12:29 pm

If education is so important to “undocumented illegals”, then why not just get your documents and be done with it and all this hoopla will be over ?!?!?!

SoGaDawg

March 6th, 2012
12:30 pm

Still incorrect Maureen. These kids are illegal aliens. They need to get out of our country and stop taking up our resources. Calling them “undocumented” doesn’t change anything.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

March 6th, 2012
12:30 pm

Efforts should also be made IMMEDIATELY to deter the enrollment of illegals in grades K-12 in public schools.

Illegal immigration and it’s damaging effects of increased crime, gang activity, illegal smuggling, etc, have NO place in Georgia or any other U.S. state, for that matter.

Rival

March 6th, 2012
12:32 pm

People here don’t seem to mind working for Kia or the hundreds/thousands of other foreign-owned companies in Georgia. Do those crafting and supporting legislation to restrict any kind of benefit (perceived or real) to undocumented kids consider the chance that one of these kids creates some insanely profitable new venture in the future that could lead to Georgia jobs? I bet they’ll laugh hard when the future Georgia governor asks them to locate their HQ or facility here then…

B. Jones

March 6th, 2012
12:36 pm

What should we call these kids?

The people who got them here illegally are criminals. The proper term for them is “undocumented criminals”. But their children have committed no crime. I suppose “illegal alien” is the best term for them?

Visionary

March 6th, 2012
12:38 pm

Here is a vision: the future is in educating illegal immigrants and building more and more prisons. As it happens, one of California’s biggest and fastest growing industries is also the prison industry .. that’s real vision too.

There are real problems when a legitimate immigration process is ignored.
I work with legal immigrants, and they are welcome here;
The illegals are no longer welcomed here; please, take them in California.
I remember when college was free in California … not so long ago.

Marklar

March 6th, 2012
12:38 pm

Your parents came here illegally when you were young. They took the “unwanted” (actually the blue collar jobs) from Americans via pay reductions (no paperwork needed so no need for the Law). We let you go to American Public Schools (I paid for, and I have no children) where you forced English speaking students to learn your language (then you forced Corporations to follow with labeling of US products). Now you want to get a free ride? You need to go back to your homeland and apply for citizenship like everyone else (except the Europeans, obviously ego centrism) and take your criminal parents with you.

Native American, First American, Forgotten American
~Marklar

ideasbm

March 6th, 2012
12:42 pm

Hey Atlanta Mom. All these visionaries are from other places. They just migrated to Calif for the weather and cheap foreign programmers. Take a look at where these people are from. Not one is from Calif. Look at Jobs, look at Facebook founder, etc.

Crazy!

March 6th, 2012
12:43 pm

Why stop here? Efforts should also be made to IMMEDIATELY deter the enrollment of all those who are not native. Anybody without native American blood need to leave the state and return to the country of your ancestors origin.

Happy Kine and The Mirth Makers

March 6th, 2012
12:43 pm

Visionary

March 6th, 2012
12:38 pm

YES!!! Build more prisons and fill them up!! Fill them to the brim with the criminals…undocumented, illegal, legal makes no difference. Put the dregs where they belong.

MannyT

March 6th, 2012
12:44 pm

@Will…I hope your post is bad humor.
There is no way on God’s green Earth that out-of-state students and legal immigrants should be allowed to take one of the precious few and very limited spots from the law-abiding and taxpaying citizens of the state of Georgia…

Really?

1. I didn’t realize God had state residency requirements.

2. You don’t like out of state students? They pay more to go to state colleges

3. Make sure you take all the non GA athletes off the sports teams.

4. What level of law abiding are you requiring? I saw someone get a parking ticket. No college for you.

5. Many 18 year olds do not pay taxes aside from the consumption taxes that any person who purchases something in the state does. Do the people that pass through, get to transfer their taxes back to their states?

6. The more you try to close the state, the less opportunity there will be. We need to interact with other states and countries to grow the economy. The more you lock down one place, the easier it is for the rest of society to exclude it.

This doesn’t even begin to address the reality that the undocumented students did not bring themselves here. If they have done the right things, it is a shame to exclude them from the opportunity to educate themselves and contribute to society.

deegee

March 6th, 2012
12:46 pm

It is astounding to know that the Georgia legislators want to deny an education to students that are driven to excel in school despite their illegal immigrant status, and give their seat to a US citizen that is entitled to it by the nature of their birth right. This is yet another example of why the U.S. is failing to attract and maintain skilled jobs. The illegal immigrant kids would do themselves a favor by going to Canada to study.

Centrist

March 6th, 2012
12:46 pm

The AJC and their liberal reporters and bloggers are pushing the Dream Act which has been introduced/rejected by Congress the last 12 years including when Democrats controlled all three branches of government. It isn’t going to pass anytime soon, either. As noted by the overwhelming support of the Georgia Senate bill – things are going the OTHER way.

And by the way – they are ILLEGAL alien students – not your liberal euphemism “undocumented”.

Rival

March 6th, 2012
12:52 pm

I don’t think anyone is saying they get a free ride as they would still have to pay in-state tuition. I think the proposed law keeps them from even applying for admission, which is dumb.

If I want to go learn in China or Japan at a specialized or highly-regarded institute so that I have marketable skills in a global economy, I can do that. And I would be welcomed along with my tuition money. Why can’t our leaders look at it like that?

Oh, yeah: because the Gold Dome is run by rednecks. And I say that as someone born and raised in Georgia by rednecks.

jd

March 6th, 2012
12:53 pm

“Undocumented” includes those students who arrived with all the papers — but those papers have “expired” — 80% of those students are from Britain, Canada, Germany, Japan — hardly enemies of the state. Course, those who bang the illegal drum won’t allow ignorance of the difference to be noticed…
Ignorance begets more ignorance

@DeeGeeDuh?

March 6th, 2012
12:56 pm

They will do us ALL a favor by going to Canada. Let’s pray the illegal alien takes the advice?!!!

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

March 6th, 2012
12:57 pm

MannyT

March 6th, 2012
12:44 pm

TAXPAYER-funded state colleges and universities should be for Georgians first and foremost. Out-of-state students and so-called legal immigrants take very limited spots away from the Georgian citizens that these institutions are intended to serve first-and-foremost.

Out-of-state students and legal immigrants should not be allowed to take spots away Georgians and should have little, if any, priority in the enrollment process of the University System of Georgia. UNDOCUMENTED and ILLEGAL students should not even be apart of the process or even the conversation about who should be enrolled in our publicly-funded colleges and universities.

Also, any private institution that accepts public funding in the form of financial aid should also be restricted from accepting undocumented students who should in no way be allowed or encouraged to gain an education at taxpayers’ expense in the state of Georgia or, for that matter, the United States.

There should be NO room for further compromise, nuance or even discussion on this issue as letting or encouraging ILLEGAL immigrants and UNDOCUMENTED students to be in the state of Georgia in any way, shape or form on the taxpayers’ dime in totally and completely UNACCEPTABLE. Period.

Jimmy62

March 6th, 2012
12:58 pm

Why are you lying? They have documents. Heck, I’m sure Georgia Tech has documents with their names on them.

What they don’t have is a legal right to be here. That makes them an illegal alien under the law. You can make up new words and definitions, Mrs. Orwell, but if there’s a single document with their name on it, then you are a liar. And even worse, you are trying to change language to suit your needs. Disgusting.

If you can’t discuss an issue without changing the meaning of words and making up lies, then maybe the problem is that your view of the issue is really messed up and needs to be seriously rethought. If you can’t make an argument without lying, then you’ve already lost.

Centrist

March 6th, 2012
12:59 pm

Here is a compromise suggestion. ILLEGAL immigrant students who want college degrees could get them cheaper in their home countries. Legal immigration (and eventual citizenship) has preferences for trained workers, so they can already move up in line to LEGALLY come back. Most voters seem to like the idea of expanding LEGAL immigration, so maybe we should give even better preferences for those who were educated/ acclimated here as ILLEGAL students.

Hootinanny Yum Yum

March 6th, 2012
1:00 pm

When every non-minority, legal resident student in these United States is afforded the opportunity to attend the college of their choice as opposed to being passed over to let a less qualified minority attend that college, I’m all ready to DISCUSS allowing “undocumented students” to access the educational opportunities available in the United States.

Until then, ah, NO.

Jimmy62

March 6th, 2012
1:00 pm

BTW, I’m not saying these illegal aliens shouldn’t be able to go to college. I’m not making a stance on that issue at all.

I just wanted to point out how the columnist is an Orwellian liar who should be ashamed of her cynical manipulation of language to get her own way.

Stankonia

March 6th, 2012
1:07 pm

You have to be a seriously pathetic piece of white trash to feel like you have anything to fear from an undocumented student taking your place or spending your tax dollars at a Georgia college.
I know that probably hurts the feelings of a lot of good hard working Christian folks at the Capitol, but it’s true. Soon enough, GA, SC and AL will all be flat broke because they spend all their time screaming “Show me the brith certificate” and “what part of illegal don’t you understand” instead of using what little brain power the good lord gave you to try to figure out how to bolster the local economy.
Crybaby, ignorant hypocrites. Every one of you.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

March 6th, 2012
1:08 pm

Centrist

March 6th, 2012
12:59 pm

Compromises are totally and completely UNACCEPTABLE on this issue. Once illegal aliens and “undocumented” students leave U.S. soil, there is NO desire to see them comeback. Encouraging more legal immigration is also unacceptable, especially in an environment where jobs for U.S. Citizens are still far-and-few between.

Once the illegals leave, they should stay gone, with no opportunity to return to take educational, employment and career opportunities from Americans.

Big Al

March 6th, 2012
1:09 pm

A university system full of folks from Georgia (as the last Democrat suggests) would be HORRIBLE. I agree that illegal immigrants should be the last ones accepted (and then should pay a higher tuition than any other classification to make up for the free ride they have gotten), but excluding out of state folks and legal immigrants would result in a student population with nothing to teach each other. Let’s keep the focus where it should be, on excluding illegal aliens (or charging them enough to result in lower tuition for those here legally).

JH

March 6th, 2012
1:11 pm

If these “Undocumented Students” are so darn motivated and intelligent, why can’t they figure out how to become a Legal Citizen of the US?

If these “Undocumented Students” have all this money that they are spending in our economy and on higher education, why don’t they want to invest some of that hard earned cash to become a Legal Citizen of the US?

Did the parents that forced these “Undocumented Students” years ago not come to the US to seek a better life with the dream of their children being a Legal Citzen of the US?

All these years have passed where they could have saved money and taken the time and smarts to become a Legal US Citzen, why haven’t they done that?

Why didn’t any of you that support and care for these wonderful “Undocumented Students” take the time in all these years to help even ONE of them become a Legal US citizen?

Finally, I propose that those that support and care for these “Undocumented Students” put your money, compassion and intelligence where your mouth is and Adopt An Alien! Please stop typing now and come to the direct aid of these poor souls. Years, even decades, have passed and the time to act is NOW!

GA = America's cancerous tumor

March 6th, 2012
1:13 pm

Hey Hootinanny, I like how you can’t even keep the issues straight. I know it’s hard when there are so many people out there that need hatin’.
You wrote that you want non-minority students to have priority for admissions above minority students, assuming all are in the country legally and are similarly qualified.
Thanks for clarifying what all the good Christians at the Capitol are really thinking.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

March 6th, 2012
1:15 pm

Jimmy62

March 6th, 2012
1:00 pm

“BTW, I’m not saying these illegal aliens shouldn’t be able to go to college. I’m not making a stance on that issue at all.”

Illegal aliens should not be able to go to college, at least not in the U.S. anyways, because they are not supposed to even be here in the first place.

We here in Georgia cannot affect policy how it pertains to permitting illegal immigrants and undocumented students to attend publicly-funded colleges and universities in other states.

But we in Georgia can start by taking a stand against illegal immigration and banning illegals and undocumenteds from any and every college and university in the state that accepts taxpayer funds in any way, shape or form, both public and private.

JH

March 6th, 2012
1:20 pm

Can these “Undocumented Students” (or their parents) first pay back the taxpayers for the free / cheap public education they already received in K-12?

Ron F.

March 6th, 2012
1:21 pm

If a child is brought here as an infant or toddler, through no choice of his own, should he be banned from any education? Maybe if it weren’t so hard to get documentation and eventually citizenship, then maybe so many wouldn’t sneak in illegally. IMO, if they’re willing to risk the dangers/punishments to get here, they must want the chance awfully bad. So far, the ones I’ve met work hard and just want to have the chance at a life that they can’t get to in their home countries.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

March 6th, 2012
1:25 pm

Big Al

March 6th, 2012
1:09 pm

I didn’t say that we should totally exclude out-of-state students and legal immigrants from state colleges and universities, but they should take much less priority in the enrollment process than they do now while still being allowed to attend state colleges and universities in far fewer numbers.

There’s no way that a publicly-funded institution like Georgia Tech should be full of foreign and out-of-state students at the financial and educational expense of the Georgian citizens who flip the bill for the institution’s basic existence.

These colleges and universities should have to admit a certain percentage of in-state students, or lose their state funding (somewhere north of 95%, between at least 95-100% of the student body of be made of in-state students).

Pompano

March 6th, 2012
1:27 pm

@Rival – you are 100% incorrect! Just try sneaking illegally into one of the countries you mention and see how welcome you are.

JH

March 6th, 2012
1:29 pm

Are these “Undocumented Students” going to stay here after their very expensive higher education and become Legal US Citzens? Do these “Undocumented Students” think the almost lifelong crime of being illegal will look good on a resume?

Bets are “Undocumented Students” are future Silicon Valley “Cheap Labor”. Sounds like these Tech Titans are looking are investing in the present to save loads of money in their future payroll.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

March 6th, 2012
1:30 pm

Out-of-state students should not be allowed to take educational opportunities from Georgians, foreign students should not be allowed to take educational opportunities from American students and, ESPECIALLY, illegal and undocumented students should NEVER, in any way, shape or form, be allowed to take from legal U.S. Citizens.

There is no room for illegals in the educational process of the state of Georgia or the United States of America. Period. End of discussion.

Modify Senate Bill 458 to ban illegals and undocumenteds from all educational institutions in the state of Georgia, both public and private, that accept even one red cent of public funding and pass it into law TODAY.

NONPC

March 6th, 2012
1:32 pm

If I want to go learn in China or Japan at a specialized or highly-regarded institute so that I have marketable skills in a global economy, I can do that. And I would be welcomed along with my tuition money. Why can’t our leaders look at it like that?

You would have to go to Japan or China LEGALLY and pay their tuition for an out-of-country student. MANY international students come to the US LEGALLY to attend college and pay out of state tuition. That happens at nearly every college and university in Georgia, and will continue to do so. Our state leaders aren’t doing ANYTHING that every other country does on their own soil. There is no other country in the world that is more giving to illegal aliens inside their borders than the U.S.

Right Idea

March 6th, 2012
1:32 pm

@Big Al, has the right idea. If you are an illegal alien (not an undocumented student) and you want to go to college in Georgia, then we must first address the real problem – you are in this country illegally, period. If we must succomb to allowing these individuals to continue to break the law then we should make tuition rates double the current out-of-state tuition. At least that way, the legal students can benefit from the illegal ones in some respect.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

March 6th, 2012
1:37 pm

Ron F.

March 6th, 2012
1:21 pm

“If a child is brought here as an infant or toddler, through no choice of his own, should he be banned from any education?”

No, he or she should not be banned from any education. They should just be banned from receiving education here in the United States as they are not here lawfully, they are here ILLEGALLY, their parents came here ILLEGALLY, they were brought here ILLEGALLY, they have NO right to partake in receiving any benefit that is meant for American CITIZENS as they are NOT American Citizens and do not have permission to be here.

MannyT

March 6th, 2012
1:40 pm

@Will…I am fine agreeing to disagree with your 12:57 PM post. The opinion is clear, and we see it differently.

I do have one partially related question…later you mention in that post and later posts that out of state & legal students should have little if any priority in the enrollment process. Given that stance, what should be the state of GA/University System of GA position be on using federal funds within the public college & university system?

JH

March 6th, 2012
1:44 pm

When these “Undocumented Students” become highly educated adults will they become law abiding Legal US Citzens? They have been raised and taught to disregard our laws throughout their youth, what should we expect when the beome adults? Can we expect more of the same?

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

March 6th, 2012
1:44 pm

Ron F.

March 6th, 2012
1:21 pm

“Maybe if it weren’t so hard to get documentation and eventually citizenship, then maybe so many wouldn’t sneak in illegally. IMO, if they’re willing to risk the dangers/punishments to get here, they must want the chance awfully bad. So far, the ones I’ve met work hard and just want to have the chance at a life that they can’t get to in their home countries.”

Not all illegals who come here have good intentions as proven by the fact that Metro Atlanta has the center of the Latin American illegal drug trade for the entire Eastern part of the North American continent.

Latin Kings, MS-13, Sur-13 and the Mexican Mafia are just a few of the Latin American street gangs and drug cartels that operate in North Georgia with a sometimes murderous penchant while dealing in crimes like drug dealing, gun smuggling, human smuggling, prostitution, child prostitution, money laundering, kidnapping, home invasion, etc.

danny

March 6th, 2012
1:46 pm

^^ Ignorant as h**l. Stop captializing ILLEGAL because I am pretty sure you follow to close, run red lights, don’t turn on your blinker when you turn or change lanes because all of these actions are ILLEGAL.

I am pretty sure that these illegals would be better citizens than you. In case you haven’t noticed is that immigrants build this country and continue to support it because our own people aren’t capable to do so especially in Technology because we want it easy, we want to sit around and think that a job is suppose to be giving to us and we don’t even have to be good at whatever.

I rather have a illegal than “Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?…..” type

deegee

March 6th, 2012
1:48 pm

Maybe I’m not looking at this issue the right way. Perhaps it would be best for the illegal immigrants to leave and open up the unskilled jobs to our native born college graduates with their degrees in history, anthropology, philosophy and English literature. Wouldn’t that be a better use of our federally funded education system?

Hootinanny Yum Yum

March 6th, 2012
1:48 pm

GA = America’s cancerous tumor,

Said nothing of the kind. For this country to remain competitive in a global economy, the best and brightest legal residents; regardless of their race, creed, color, sex or national origin; should be accepted to college purely on their performance.

As it is, under Affirmative Action and other quota systems, many better performing students are excluding from attending the colleges and universities they’d prefer to attend. So, not only do we support a system that discriminates against the best qualified, we breed resentment among those who were passed over.

So, now, you want a system that bypasses those who earned the right to attend the college of their choice, but you think undocumented students should be given the same pass.

The more we as a society fail to reward those who achieve, perform and work the hardest, the more we create a culture of dependency. The less competitive we’ll be globally. The more we embrace multiculturalism and social engineering, the further we fall behind China and India. You know, those bastions of multiculturalism.

My comment had nothing to do with hate. It had to do with survival. No, you want to talk about hate. Look in a mirror.

danny

March 6th, 2012
1:49 pm

Oh there is a reason why Georgia and it’s southern compadres such as Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina are the poorest states in the country in addition the least educated. It clearly shows especially in post / comments like this that education is important.

danny

March 6th, 2012
1:51 pm

Deegee, they already tried and none are willing to take unskilled jobs, why do you think the farmers are outraged by the law because they can’t find any AMERICAN to do those jobs. Why would they, its easier to receive welfare than to go out and hand pick cotton and water melons. When you can simply get food stamps, medicaid, etc. That is what our people do and that is why illegals work here.