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Villaraigosa and undocumented-only scholarships


The Mayor and Garcetti at Franklin High

The college cash for undocumented residents program Mayor Villaraigosa's office endorsed yesterday lies at the center of a complex struggle in many states that already enables many undocumented students to receive scholarship money. Scholarships that give money to undocumented residents are not ordinarily exclusive to the undocumented, however, nor are they endorsed by elected officials directly.

The Villaraigosa-endorsed CORE scholarship program is a departure in that an elected official has endorsed a program from his own office in which undocumented residents are openly prioritized ahead of citizens.

The historic difficulty for progressives who wish to enable college assistance for undocumented residents is the reluctance of legislators to provide overt support for higher education funding mechanisms that might provide money for undocumented residents ahead of American citizens. The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund provides a list of private scholarships that may provide money to undocumented residents, while cautioning applicants in English and Spanish that "lying about your legal status or providing a false Social Security is a federal offense."

The nascent scholarship organization openly courting undocumented resident applicants, CORE, Chicano Organizing and Research in Education, has a sketchy Internet presence (with many details about itself "coming soon"), and no non-Latinos serve on its board. It also lists its "address" as a PO Box in Sacramento. The organization also sent notices to New York schools yesterday.