AZ & MO Immigrant Students Rise Up Against Republican Attacks on Their Education

Sheridan Aguirre Press Releases

Educators and School Administrators Must Protect Their Students & Ensure That All Students Have Equal Access to Higher Education

For Immediate Release
Media Contacts
Arizona: Fernando Najera | fernandom.najera@gmail.com | 520.400.6665
Missouri: Alex Martinez | media@ksmoda.org | 816.382.1403
National: Sheridan Aguirre | sheridan@unitedwedream.org | 202.793.2267

Phoenix, AZ  – Yesterday, the Republican-controlled Arizona Supreme Court ruled that Arizona students with DACA must pay out-of-state tuition rates even though they are Arizona residents. Meanwhile, in Missouri, the Republican State Senate will discuss a budget bill tomorrow that includes language which would terminate in-state tuition rates for undocumented youth with DACA.

As the Republican Congress continues to block the Dream Act, state Republicans are lashing out at immigrant youth. Leaders from United We Dream local groups in Arizona, Missouri and nationwide offered the following reactions:

Fernando Najera, potential Dream Act beneficiary and Policy Committee Director at Scholarships-AZ in Tucson, AZ, said:

The Arizona Supreme Court’s decision to deny DACA students like me in-state tuition is heartbreaking. I don’t know if I’ll be able to achieve my childhood dream of graduating from the University of Arizona and I don’t know if my younger brother, who also has DACA, will be able to attend college when he graduates this May. But I do know that the undocumented community in Arizona is resilient and we will fight until we have equitable access to education, regardless of this latest political attack on us.”

Arelis, a potential Dream Act beneficiary and student leader with Kansas/Missouri Dream Alliance from University City, MO, said:

“Our state Senate must protect in-state tuition for students with DACA — it is the moral thing to do. All Missouri students should pay the same rate for tuition. DACA recipients must not be forced to pay tuition at triple the cost of in-state rates, despite meeting state residency requirements and graduating from local high schools. We want to go to school and work in our home state but this unnecessary threat to block educational attainment for immigrant youth would make that impossible.”

Deyanira Aldana, Education Justice Organizer at United We Dream and potential Dream Act beneficiary, said:

“The actions being taken by the Arizona Supreme Court and the Missouri legislature are an extension of Trump’s dangerous agenda to isolate immigrants, strip us of opportunities for a decent future, and ultimately deport us from our homes.

“We are calling on all students to organize and on all people with institutional power to use it to protect immigrant youth. April 26th is National Immigrants Resilience Day when students and hundreds of educators, and school administrators will declare that their institutions are safe spaces for immigrant youth and that every single student should be able to pursue their education regardless of immigration status.”

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United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 400,000 members and 48 affiliate organizations across 26 states. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States.