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LPI Community Experts

‘Be Bold. It’s economics.’

November 21st, 2014 by mcorina

What if I told you that a single policy initiative could enrich our communities, inject a catalyst into our economy, strengthen our families, and secure our border all the while bringing *in* money for the federal government? (http://nyti.ms/N7Mk4c)

You might call me crazy.

But such a plan exists. It was the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the U.S. Senate with 68 votes last summer. A bill that has languished in the House for the last 500+ days.

Such is what gave rise to the executive actions announced by President Obama last night. The three major steps he will take to address our broken immigration system are: (1) invest in border patrol (2) facilitate student/worker/entrepreneur visas, and (3) deprioritize the deportations of parents who have been here more than five years, pursuant to a criminal background check & back taxes. These proposals will lift the threat of deportation from an estimated five million mothers & fathers and long standing members of our communities.

Advocates find victory with policy change

February 6th, 2014 by mcorina

Providence, R.I. - Like legends, their names are ubiquitous. Talk to anyone about Rhode Island’s in-state tuition policy for undocumented students and it’s doubtless they’ll pop up in the conversation. In Italy, all roads might lead to Rome, but in Rhode Island, all roads lead to Michelle DePlante and Roberto Gonzalez, the all-star advocates for Rhode Island immigrants.

Both worked with the Coalition of Advocates for Student Opportunities (CASO) to promote the policy change that allows undocumented students to pay the in-state tuition price at public universities. DePlante says the process was “pretty contentious and long,” while Gonzalez opines it was “very frustrating.”

Recruiting Latino Students Through In-state Tuition

January 7th, 2014 by mcorina

Providence, R.I. __ Let’s role play: you’re an administrator at a Rhode Island state college. A local student applies and wants to pay the in-state tuition price. The student isn’t eligible for financial aid and will pay out of pocket for her education. She’s an overachiever, stacked with awards and accomplishments and all sorts of testaments to her intellect. The catch (because there is always one) is that she’s undocumented. Would you send her (and her money) out the door?  

If this were 2010, you’d have to say ‘Bye’ to your potential star student (and her money). Since the passage of the in-state tuition policy by the RI Board of Governors in 2011, however, Rhode Island’s public institutions (i.e. Rhode Island College, University of Rhode Island and Community College of Rhode Island) have been able to indulge undocumented students who want to spend their hard-earned bucks on an education in Rhode Island.

“Every student who wants to participate is able to,” says CCRI Associate Director of Admissions Rob Giovino, “We spend a lot of time tracking this.”

High School Staff in RI Works with and for Students

December 6th, 2013 by tagonia

PROVIDENCE, R.I. __ A beloved motif in sitcoms and cartoons is the bumbling high school faculty. Teachers, principals and guidance counselors are portrayed as incompetent fools who can hardly help themselves, much less their students. But in Rhode Island, this image is itself divorced from reality. The Ocean State’s high schools are on the offense, helping undocumented students navigate the thorny process of applying to college.

Kyleen Carpenter, Head of Blackstone Academy Charter School in PawtucketKyleen Carpenter, Head of Blackstone Academy Charter School in Pawtucket“We get so much information. We’re feeding it to the students and their families,” says Kyleen Carpenter, Head of Blackstone Academy Charter School in Pawtucket. Since the passage of the in-state tuition policy for undocumented students in 2011, Rhode Island high schools have bombarded undocumented students with information, making clear their education doesn’t have to end after high school.

Dreams, Deterred and Deferred

November 1st, 2013 by tagonia

Central Falls, R.I. __ At his high school graduation, Juan Pena stood out. He was one of those talented students who shined a little more brightly in the already shining moment of secondary education. 

“I had like three little strings on me [honor cords], and they only had two,” Pena says of his classmates, “And I wasn’t gonna be able to go to my dream school.”

The high-school senior was about to graduate Central Falls High School with a track record that gleamed with achievement. He was in the top five students accepted to Rhode Island School of Design for the upcoming fall. He had received a Gold Key award for his portfolio. He was a member of the National Honor Society and the National Art Honor Society. All these accomplishments proved disheartening rather than empowering, however, when he was the only NHS member in his class who wouldn’t be attending his school of choice.

LPI Director Gives Bilingual Keynote Address to Global Scholars

October 21st, 2013 by tagonia

On Tuesday, October 1, LPI’s director Anna Cano Morales was invited to give a keynote address in the Joukowsky Forum of the Watson Institute. On the Monday night before, the keynote address was given by Ricardo Lagos, former president of Chile.        

Over 40 young scholars with similar energy and passion to make the world a better place were gathered in the Forum on day three of their seven day program here in Providence; all representing different parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. The scholars are part of a program that brings together some 40 university students who have been deemed to have high potential and a vocation for public service. During the week, the students get to meet former presidents of countries, meet the RI Governor, Lincoln Chafee, watch cultural appearances, and also on their radar is the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University.

Meet LPI's 2013 Summer Intern: Alex Castro

October 1st, 2013 by tagonia

Alex CastroWhen family and friends learned I would be interning at the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University this summer, I was met with confused looks and questions. I’m not Latino, the purposes of an ‘institute’ seemed especially ambiguous, and others wondered why a carefree smart mouth like myself was being allowed anywhere near public policy.   

Honestly, I was a bit confused, too. Being the first intern LPI has had, my duties were still undefined when I entered the LPI office in Providence for the first time. My supervisor Anna Cano-Morales could coach me on the LPI “elevator speech” concerning its mission statement, but really, what would I be doing?