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Interfaith group fundraiser focuses on immigration issues

By From page A1 | March 30, 2014

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Ana Marciel will speak at the Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network dinner. Courtesy photo

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What: Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network fundraising dinner

When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Davis Community Church Fellowship Hall, 421 D St.

Tickets: $30, available from Rick Gonzales at 530-758-2331 or [email protected] or at the door

Info: www.yiin.org

An undocumented UC Davis student will put a face on a national issue when she speaks at the Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network’s third annual Spring Benefit Dinner on Saturday.

Ana Maciel will talk about immigration issues in her own life, in addition to volunteering her time to help others. Proceeds from the event will be used to support YIIN’s programs, as well as a local scholarship fund for immigrant students.

The dinner will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the Fellowship Hall at Davis Community Church, 421 D St.

As has become the custom, the event will feature tasty cuisine — Indian curries and related dishes prepared by celebrated local chef Mary Philip. There also will be entertainment, in the form of music by Mariachi Puente, a band featuring young performers from local junior high and high school programs. The fundraiser also features a raffle and silent auction.

Maciel is a second-year student pursuing a double major in political science and Chicano studies. She attended high school in the Monterey County community of Soledad, in the southern Salinas Valley, a region historically known as California’s “salad bowl” and increasingly known for the production of wine grapes as well.

She will talk about the complex legal process that she faces as she pursues her university education.

“I am an undocumented student, and I have been granted deferred action under DACA,” she said, referring to the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that was started by the Obama administration. Maciel’s DACA status allows her to work lawfully in California, but there are nonetheless limits on her options for employment on campus to do research and travel outside the United States.

Maciel also will talk about the California Dream Act, which consists of two bills that were signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011. AB 130, signed in July 2011, grants undocumented students who spent several years studying in California high schools access to certain forms of private financial aid. AB 131 allows undocumented students who graduated from California high schools and can demonstrate “merit and need” to apply for certain forms of in-state financial aid.

In addition, Maciel will talk about AB 540, a bill dating from 2001, which allows undocumented students who meet certain conditions relating to residency and academic achievement to pay in-state tuition rates at public universities, rather than the higher tuition charged for out-of-state students.

She also will talk about her activities with the SPEAK program at UCD. SPEAK — Scholars Promoting Education Awareness and Knowledge — assists undocumented students at the university, and works to promote immigration-related legislation at the state level. SPEAK is hoping to help establish a student community center that would focus on immigration and documentation issues.

Allison Pease, one of the organizers of the Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network, a nonprofit organized in 2008, said the group uses proceeds from the annual dinner to support English as a second language courses for agricultural workers in Yolo County, as well as programs focusing on the children of migrant workers.

Some of these projects are in conjunction with the Kathleen Barsotti Foundation, a local nonprofit founded in 2009 in memory of a local pioneer in the organic agricultural movement.

“This year we are also working with a group of law school students who have started an immigration law association — they are interested in working with us,” Pease said. “We are always interested in making connections with people and groups in the community, and presenting talks about what’s happening with immigration reform and what’s happening with local immigrants.”

Tickets for the Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network dinner are $30 and are available in advance through Rick Gonzales at 530-758-2331 or by emailing [email protected] and at the door. Information about YIIN is available online at www.yiin.org.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055.

Jeff Hudson

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