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ASU Faculty, Students Sign Letter To Arizona Public Universities To Support DREAMers

When Daniel Rodriguez was 7 years old, his mother brought him from Mexico to Arizona. They were fleeing violence in their hometown, and, it wasn’t until he was in high school that he found out that he was undocumented.

Rodriguez received more than 15 different scholarships to pay for his education at Arizona State University, but, in 2006, his junior year, Proposition 300 passed in Arizona and, all of the sudden, his tuition went way up. He was no longer allowed to get public scholarships or in-state tuition for school.

“I remember getting the call saying, you no longer qualify. Now you have to pay 3 times as much out of pocket. It was devastating,” he said.

He raised the money it took to finish college and part of law school. But, he couldn’t afford to finish his law degree, until President Obama issued an executive order called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, in 2012.

DACA meant that Rodriguez and many other DREAMers — young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children — were able to come out of the shadows. Rodriquez was issued a Social Security Number and was able to work to pay for college.

But President-elect Donald Trump has said he would do away with the DACA program.

Rodriguez says people are afraid. This was an executive action by President Obama — President Trump could just as easily take it away.

Rodriguez is now an immigration attorney in the Valley and he says to understand how devastating it would be to them to take DACA away, you have to understand how much DACA has meant to the nearly 50,000 students in Arizona who benefited from it.

Among all of this fear, he’s felt heartened by the number of people who have come forward to speak in support of DREAMers and DACA students.

Just a few hours ago, as we mentioned, the Arizona Board of Regents have announced they will send a letter to President-elect Donald Trump and his administration restating their dedication to giving DACA students as much support as possible including keeping their in-state tuition. But this is the second letter of this type. 

The Board of Regents received a letter very much like this one that got all of this started, like ASU President Michael Crow’s statement in support of DACA students.

An ASU English professor wrote a letter addressed to the administrators of all of Arizona’s public universities and community colleges calling for their support of DACA students.

Now more than 1,200 faculty, staff and students have signed the letter to show their support.

It outlines several things — that students’ privacy rights remain a guarantee that they continue in-state tuition, it calls for confidential student counseling for DACA students and says they should put measures in place to ensure that these students can complete their degrees if they are deported.

The professor who wrote this letter, Joe Lockard, actually taught Daniel Rodriguez when he was a student at ASU. He explains why he thinks it’s important for administrators and professors to take the lead on this.

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.