Saturday, May 25, 2024

Should Colleges Enroll Illegal Immigrants?

There are thousands of undocumented students who upon graduating high school face great uncertainty and obstacles if they choose to pursue a higher education. The federal government’s failure to take any action on the immigration issue, has forced states to take matters into their own hands. Certain states like California, allow undocumented students to attend public universities and pay in-state resident tuition fees. However, other states in the nation have taken different measures. Most recently, South Carolina became the first state in the nation to ban undocumented students from attending public colleges and universities. Meanwhile, states like California that have allowed undocumented students to attend their higher learning institutions now face pressure and even lawsuits to repeal in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants.

Behind the debate and legal battles are real stories of young men and women who are eager to attend college and become professionals who will contribute to the economy and will improve the landscape of our country. They face enormous financial stress since their legal status makes them ineligible to receive any type of financial aid. Those who are able to graduate then have to face the challenge of not being able to obtain employment despite having completed a college education. They write letters to congress, make calls to their local legislators, and tell their stories in hopes that the government will take action either at the state or federal levels. Their plight as undocumented students has made them more politically aware and active. They form groups and online communities to provide support and even raise money to pay for school. However not everyone is sympathetic to the plight of undocumented students many argue that is unfair to give undocumented students advantages that are not available to US citizens. “Zan Brennan, the mother of a 2005 graduate of the University of Kansas, says it’s an outrage that illegal immigrants in states like California and Kansas can claim in-state tuition while U.S. citizens from neighboring states must pay higher fees. In 2005, her daughter, Brigette, unsuccessfully sued Kansas after being told she would have to pay out-of-state tuition even though she went to a Kansas high school. The reason: Her family lived on the other side of the state border, in Kansas City, Missouri.”

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