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Immigration: What do undocumented students face?

immigrationBy MANDI STEFFEY

Staff Writer

Topics on immigration are undoubtedly a hot-button issue in the United States today. People from all corners of the country are passionate about many issues within immigration. One of the closest-hitting aspects of the immigration issue has affected students on the IU South Bend campus. This issue is House Bill (HB) 1402.

According to IN.gov, on July 1, 2011, illegal residents were no longer granted in-state tuition for college. The digest of the bill states that “an individual who is not lawfully in the United States is not eligible to pay the resident tuition rate that is determined by the state educational institution.”

According to the bill, it applies to every illegal resident, including those who came to the U.S. with their parents as children. It also affects undocumented students who are granted temporary residency and work permits in the U.S.

Eduardo Alvarez , IUSB student and president of the Latino Student Union, has seen the bill affect students on campus.

“Currently, the biggest struggle that I have seen is the fact that IUSB used to be able to allow undocumented students attend at in-state tuition costs, with no aid given whatsoever due to their status. Everything had to be paid out of pocket or through private scholarships. With the passing of HB 1402 in 2011, students who were undocumented had to pay the much higher, out-of-state tuition rate,” Alvarez explained.

“This meant that most…of the undocumented students IUSB had had to drop out because they were not able to pay the out of state rate,” he added. “The bill has impacted me because many of my friends used to attend IUSB and they had to drop out.”

Alvarez also noted that to his knowledge, IUSB was the only IU campus to have lost minority enrollment recently.

Like IUSB, other colleges across Indiana had to enforce the bill. Some students throughout the state, no matter how far along they were with their degree, had no choice but to discontinue their education. In most cases, like Alvarez said, these same students were paying for almost all of their education expenses out of pocket. Some students that have been able to afford to stay got lucky, but for many, goals of higher-education became out of reach.

A blog post by the National Latino Law Student Association chronicled the stories of students who spoke out in Indianapolis at the state house to urge lawmakers to veto the bill before it went into effect. The blog stated that demonstrators at the protest were arrested by the police, showing that this is an issue with passionate undertones.

Despite the trouble it has caused for some, there is a bill currently in issue in Indiana legislation, Senate Bill 207, which would allow undocumented students who were enrolled prior to 2011 in an Indiana college to again pay in-state tuition rates.

A petition to push the bill was created by Gilberto Perez, a professor at Goshen College. According to a blog on Etruth.com, Perez is a supporter of the undocumented community.

Do you know somebody who has been affected by HB 1402? Let us know at facebook.com/IUSBPreface.

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