With the increase of undocumented students attending college, California universities have been trying to accommodate these students’ certain needs through specialized centers and programs.
In Southern California, there are currently three Dream Resource Centers that are open to the public, one is in UCLA, another at Cal State Fullerton and the third at Cal State Los Angeles.
UC Irvine also has a small office for Dreamers.
Although education for undocumented students has been a movement since the 1980s, it has been a growing process since 2011 when bills 130 and 131 were signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. With AB 130 set in motion, student groups at universities all over California fought for equal education rights.
In the four years since the law was put into place, universities have come a long way and are still developing offices, centers and support groups for undocumented students.
UCLA was the first university to implement the Dreamers Resource Center for undocumented students and also is the largest. UCLA has two centers, one at the University for students and then the UCLA Labor Center which supports and outreaches to the public offering services from tutoring to providing help to families regardless of their citizenship status.
Janet Napolitano, president of the UC system, allocated $5 million to help fund resources and programs to undocumented students this school year.
UC Irvine designated Ana Miriam Barragan as the coordinator of the UCI Dreamers. This Dreamers office has only been open for three months and Barragan has worked with about 500 undocumented students without the luxury of staff or student assistance.
Barragan said it is very challenging being the only person to offer assistance to 500 students.
Other UC schools are in the works of setting up offices and hiring coordinators, but they do not have enough money yet to open up Dream Centers.
Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Dreamers Resource Center was the first center to open in the CSU system. Since the opening of the center last April, other Cal States have been working together to attain centers of their own.
The CSU system is different in that they rely on funding from within. Since the universities have to find money within their budget or find donors, it is more difficult for them to get established.
In October, Cal State LA opened their center in conjunction with the Education Opportunity Program.
Luz Borjon, coordinator of the Dream Center has been there for 12 years working with EOP as well as helping with undocumented students. She now is able to focus on helping the estimated 800 undocumented students at Cal State LA.
The newest Dream Center will be at Cal State Northridge and is set to open soon, but at this time no date is planned. Jonathan Martinez, an EOP advisor, said opening this center will help the 600 undocumented students.