August 15, 2013
Georgia just lost another young talent to another state.
Needa Virani arrived in the U.S. at age seven. A year later she moved to Georgia . She attended Brookwood High, where she was a distinguished member of the Math Honors Society and regional science fair participant.
After graduating in 2010 with a 3.97 GPA, Needa attended Georgia Tech and earned a bachelor’s of science degree in biomedical engineering. Needa graduated with high honors, maintained a 3.56 GPA and was a research assistant in an engineering lab. She made plans to pursue a doctoral degree at Georgia Tech under the supervision of a professor who offered her a position in her chosen program.
Little did she know she would be prevented from pursuing her dreams. Earlier this year, the Georgia Tech admissions office informed her that, because of Board of Regents Policy 4.1.6 – which bans undocumented students from attending selective schools – she couldn’t enroll, despite the fact Needa had been granted “deferred action” by the federal government.
August 09, 2013
Georgia acaba de perder a otro joven talento.
Needa Veerani llegó a EE.UU. a los siete años. Un año más tarde se trasladó a Georgia y vivió aquí desde entonces.
Ella estudió en Brookwood High School, en donde se distinguió como parte de la Math Honors Society y colaboradora de la feria regional de ciencias.
Después de graduarse en 2010 con un puntaje GPA de 3.97, Needa asistió a Georgia Tech y obtuvo una licenciatura en ingeniería biomédica.
June 28, 2013
For undocumented students, graduating high school can be cause for anxiety, rather than celebration. Without a Social Security number, finding work and gaining college admission are both high hurdles to clear.
For undocumented students in Georgia, options are even more scarce, as a ban passed by the Board of Regents in October 2010 prohibits their admission to the most selective research universities, including University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Medical College of Georgia and Georgia College & State University.
But the sweeping immigration reform bill passed by the U.S. Senate Thursday could change that.
June 19, 2013
A Georgia student's story highlights the need for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for the 11 million people who have become part of the American fabric, and aspire to become citizens, but currently have no way to attain legal status.
I came to the U.S. from India at the age of 7. Living in the U.S. has provided me with a life that I would have never been able to have back in India. The U.S. has always been and will always be my home. I have received a great high school education, which helped me graduate from Georgia Tech, a college that has the second-best program in my chosen field, biomedical engineering.
In college, I struggled because of my immigration status. Not only was I ineligible for financial aid, but I also had to pay out-of-state tuition, even though I've lived in Georgia for over 12 years. As is common with DREAMers, my life plans have been subject to politicians' whims; luckily, I got into Georgia Tech exactly one year before the Georgia Board of Regents enacted a policy that banned undocumented students from Georgia's top five colleges and universities.
March 09, 2013
By KATE BRUMBACK
The Associated Press
Some quiet changes to a bill that was intended as a simple fix for unintended consequences of a 2011 crackdown on illegal immigration have turned the bill that originally had pretty universal support into a rallying point for activists on all sides of the immigration issue.
The bill sponsored by state Rep. Dustin Hightower, R-Carrollton, was presented as a solution to complaints from several state agencies that Georgia's 2011 law was creating extra work and delays in processing public benefits, including professional licenses.
But the amended bill passed by the House Monday would effectively deny driver's licenses to young people who were brought here illegally as children and who have been granted temporary permission to stay and work here under an Obama administration initiative. It also would bar illegal immigrants from being able to get a marriage license or access water and sewage services in the state.
Though the amendments would affect relatively few people, the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia is quickly organizing efforts to protest the bill.
"All of a sudden, we're confronted with all of these damaging changes," the ACLU's Azadeh Shahshahani said. "These are all additional complications and burdens that we don't need."
The Dustin Inman Society, which pushes for stronger laws targeting illegal immigration and stricter enforcement of existing laws, sent out an email blast to supporters urging them to call their lawmakers to tell them to keep Hightower's bill intact and to defeat a more limited Senate version of the bill.
Though Hightower says he didn't initially realize the potential effects of the changes, he hasn't said whether he intends to take them out. He said the additions to his bill weren't meant to dupe anyone, that they were intended to streamline the legislative process.
"The original intent of this bill was to be something to facilitate people obtaining and keeping a professional license in a much easier fashion," he said, adding that it was also meant to preserve taxpayer-funded public benefits for U.S. citizens and other eligible legal residents.
Georgia's 2011 law targeting illegal immigration requires anyone applying for or renewing public benefits — like professional licenses, welfare and unemployment benefits — to provide a "secure and verifiable" document proving their U.S. citizenship or legal presence in the country.
People in the country illegally have long been ineligible for Georgia driver's licenses. But after the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program took effect in August, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens declared that those with deferred status could get a temporary driver's license.
However, the advisory opinion Olens issued at Gov. Nathan Deal's request seems to indicate that those in the federal program are not eligible for state identity cards, because those IDs are subject to the law governing public benefits. The pending legislation adds "state issued driver's licenses" to the list of public benefits.
Hightower said he didn't know whether his bill denies driver's licenses to those granted deferred action, and said that wasn't his specific intent. But he didn't say if that was something he'd be in favor of or if he'd reconsider the addition of driver's licenses to the list of public benefits.
The 2011 law charged the state attorney general's office with creating a list of documents that government agencies could accept if they require identification for an official purpose. The list currently includes foreign passports, the only document on the list that those in the country illegally would be able to obtain legitimately.
By removing foreign passports from the list unless they're accompanied by federal immigrationdocumentation, the new bill would technically prevent illegal immigrants from getting a marriage license in Georgia or from accessing water and sewage service in the many municipalities that require identification to turn on service.
Hightower said the possibility of preventing illegal immigrants from obtaining marriage licenses and access to water and sewer services was not intentional. Since being made aware of that issue, he's looking at what can be done to resolve it, he said.
Copyright The Associated Press
March 06, 2013
The ACLU Foundation of Georgia has sent a letter to the Board of Regents asking that they end the application of Policy 4.1.6. (ban on attendance of selective colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia) to young immigrants granted deferred action under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The letter also asks that the Regents issue new guidance recognizing that DACA recipients are “lawfully present” under federal immigration law and thus eligible to seek admission to Georgia’s competitive postsecondary institutions. Portions of the letter were read today by student organizers at the rally against the ban in Athens.
The letter and exhibits can be viewed here:
September 24, 2012
Saturday, November 10, 2012The ACLU of Georgia's Annual Meeting
State Bar of Georgia Headquarters
104 Marietta Street, NW, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30303
Join us to meet newly elected members of the Board of Directors
and updates on our current civil liberties issues including: