Legal status no longer reflected in tuition bills

Miriam Arias/ Staff Writer
Currently enrolled at the University and approaching graduation, senior and sociology major Ivan Aguilar remembers a time in his life when things seemed uncertain and indefinite.  At the age of 10, Aguilar was brought to the U.S. without papers by his mother, who was also undocumented at the time.

In an interview with Student Media, Aguilar explained the difficulties experienced by his mother.

“My mom did everything; she cooked, worked at flower warehouses, worked at clothing factories. The jobs were odd and continuously changing.”

Both Aguilar and his mother have attained legal citizenship.

He also mentioned that his younger sister, who was born and currently resides in Florida, would be asked to pay out-of-state tuition to be accepted in one of the state’s public colleges or universities.

However, students residing in Florida will no longer be asked to pay out-of-state tuition to attend public colleges and universities, regardless of their parent’s legal status.

On Sept. 4, Federal Judge K. Michael Moore deemed it unconstitutional to require students to pay out-of-state tuition because their parents could not provide their legal status.

Prior to Judge Moore’s statement, children of undocumented parents were forced to pay out-of-state tuition to receive an education.

Senior and sociology major Jessica Cherubin commented on the decision.

“About time someone saw the indifference and made a decision to benefit them as opposed to holding them back,” Cherubin said.

Ediberto Roman, professor at the College of Law and specialist in immigration law, is worked to abolishing this law.

In an interview with Student Media, Roman noted that, along with students, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Students Working for Equal Rights are working toward this common goal.

SWER leader, Frida Ulloa, shared her thoughts on the subject. She stated that it was wrong and illogical to not allow Florida residents to pay in-state tuition.

Roman stated that this law overlaps the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to all children born in the U.S. However, this law declares that the way to claim residency is through their parents.

He believes that the law’s intent is to attack undocumented parents through their children.

Another important subject for Roman is the deferred action passed by President Barack Obama.

The young adults who fall under this criterion are those who have lived in the U.S. for a minimum of five years, arrived before the age of 16 and are 30 or younger. Though the action in no way guarantees the attainment of legal citizenship, it will allow immigrants to receive a permit to work. The in-state tuition fee, however, does not apply to them.

Similar to the example of Aguilar, many young adults find themselves in this situation and although Aguilar received legal citizenship, many others have not been so lucky.

According to Roman’s assessments, young adults who meet the criterion should be eligible to pay in-state tuition just like the children of undocumented parents.

Roman believes that the deferred action passed by President Obama is a step in the right direction. Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney does not support the deferred action.

“It is an act of courage that they out themselves,” Roman said. “My hope is to continue to fight for the Dream Act.”

With Obama and Romney at ends on this issue, the future of this deferred action is still to be determined.

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