June 25, 2021
Biden Seeks Extra $400 A Year In Pell Grants For College And To Expand Aid To Dreamers (CNBC) –
Starting July 1st, students whose families demonstrate significant financial need can receive up to $6,495 in grants for the upcoming award year, according to the Department of Education. President Biden proposed to Congress to extend these grants to undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers. This proposal could be seen as a monumental step towards increasing access to higher education for Dreamers, who often present significant financial need.
Unlike student loans, pell grants do not need to be repaid, thus promoting the shrinking of racial gaps in the education system and lowering financial barriers for low- and middle-income students. As stated by Shalanda Young, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, if the proposal is to be adopted by Congress, Biden’s budget would yield the most sizable annual increase to the federal grants since 2009.
June 18, 2021
Mass. Urged To Join Neighbors On Immigrant Tuition Rate Bill (WBUR News) –
For many years, lawmakers have pushed to make in-state public college tuition rates accessible to undocumented immigrants. Legislation before the Higher Education Committee would expand in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants who reside in Massachusetts and attend its high schools and help students secure a well-grounded financial footing and lessen declining enrollment.
Prominent figures in the state’s higher education system have strongly supported implementing an act that can afford financial relief and an opportunity for tuition equality. This could go a long way in eliminating the consequences of unauthorized student youth challenges faced daily.
According to Amy Grunder, director of legislative affairs for the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, 21 states have already implemented similar policies. In 2018, with 13,000 undocumented children enrolled in public schools in Massachusetts, none of them could attend any college with in-state tuition rates under the current law.
While many have been outspoken on national immigration issues, Beacon Hill legislative leaders have commonly veered away from bills backed by immigration reform activists.
Supporters of those proposals expressed hope earlier this year that Speaker Ronald Mariano could produce results, though so far, none of the bills have advanced beyond the committee stage.
June 10, 2021
Six Theories On When The U.S./U.K. Travel Ban Will Be Lifted (Forbes) –
President Biden is currently on his first trip overseas since taking office, visiting the U.K. and Europe to attend the G7 Summit in Cornwall, attend a NATO ministerial in Brussels, and meet with Russian President Putin in Geneva. While many families and loved ones were hoping this would be the occasion for announcing a lift of the travel ban between the United States and the United Kingdom and Europe, the White House confirmed earlier this week that those people will have to wait a little longer. Instead, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan mentioned the White House is launching working groups with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the United Kingdom to discuss a safe reopening of borders. While these efforts have been applauded by airlines, representatives have emphasized the urgency of the matter, and expressed the hope that these working groups will act quickly.
Currently, travelers from China, Iran, the United Kingdom, Ireland, European Schengen Zone, Brazil, South Africa and India are all prohibited from entering the United States. Especially in the United Kingdom and European Union, frustration about the travel bans has been growing, considering their successful vaccination programs and rapid reduction of COVID-19 cases. Unfortunately, the travel ban is still in place after almost 15 months.
While it is no secret that the travel ban has tremendous economic consequences, especially in the aviation and tourism sector, “the ban has also been particularly harsh for non-immigrant visa holders in the U.S. They cannot travel back to their home countries because chances are high they will not be allowed back into the U.S. after having visited the U.K. or Schengen Zone.” While multiple European countries have been making exceptions for American travelers if they can prove they have loved ones or family in Europe, and the United Kingdom is welcoming American travelers after a 10-day quarantine, there is simply no option for travelers from these countries to enter the United States, resulting in separated families and loved ones for over a year.
While President Biden is on his first overseas trip to the United Kingdom and Europe since taking office, many are waiting for positive news about the possibility of reuniting with families and loved ones, sooner rather than later.
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