Proposition 300 Wildly Successful at Running Undocumented Students Out of Public Universities

Christian Lira.jpg
Cronkite News
Christian Lira: an undocumented student whose scholarship is running out.

​State Republicans can pat themselves on the back: fewer undocumented students are getting educated. Which is what constitutes success in the Arizona Legislature.

 

In spring 2007, there were 1,524 undocumented students in Arizona's public universities. That number dwindled to 106 last fall as a result of Proposition 300, according to a report published by Cronkite News.

The piece looks at the human impact of Proposition 300, a 2006 ballot-initiative approved by Arizona voters charging undocumented students out of state tuition. Its effect was immediate, cutting enrollment by more than 1,000 undocumented students between spring 2007 and spring 2008, and more in the time since.

Undocumented students turned to community colleges as a means of pursuing their education in the wake of Proposition 300, but as we have reported extensively, that option was recently limited by Maricopa Community Colleges, which decided at its March board meeting to hike tuition rates for part-time out-of-state students by nearly 300d percent.

The Cronkite News report highlights the stories of several undocumented students: a high school junior at Trevor Brown, Carina Montes, with a stellar transcript who might not be able to afford college; community college students Claudia Gonzalez and Maxima Guerrero (whom we've written about before), who might not be able to afford to attend community college anymore; and an ASU undergraduate, Christian Lira, whose scholarship is running out.

With the community colleges' recent tuition hike there are very few opportunities for undocumented youth to pursue their education unless they can find and win hyper-competitive private scholarships.

It's heartbreaking what these students have to go through in pursuit of an education, searching far and wide for small scholarships when their grades would entitle them to full rides if they had been born north of the border instead of having merely lived here their entire lives.

Considering the steep drop in enrollment post-300, it's amazing that anyone manages to find the funds and motivation to attend a university, or that they would choose to do it in this state.

When the topic of education for undocumented youth comes up, everyone remembers the remarkable students, like those spotlighted in the Cronkite News report or in our 2010 feature story about talented undocumented youth, but it's not hard to imagine that there are hundreds if not thousands of undocumented students in Arizona who believe their education is pointless and decide to either drop out of high school or give up on college.

We recently spoke with one of them.

Carlos Salazar, a pseudonym, is an undocumented high school senior at Camelback who told us he doesn't plan on pursuing his education past high school. Salazar "quit early" because he knew it would be immensely difficult to continue his education because of a lack of funding. He decided he would be better off working.

"If I had the chance, I would go to university. If I had a bigger chance or a bigger possibility, I would f------ get a doctorate," he told us. "I'd love to get more education. I love school. But it is how it is."

Salazar is only one student, granted, but it's not hard to imagine that there are many more out there there like him who consider out-of-state tuition an insurmountable roadblock. The numbers in Cronkite News' report bear this out, and Arizona legislators are getting exactly what they bargained for: an under-educated and disenfranchised segment of the population.

That's somehow supposed to be a good thing.

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17 comments
CJAZ
CJAZ

I continue to be amazed by the unapologetically biased word-spewing that this publication passes off as "reporting." It talks about 1,000+ fewer undocumented students getting educated in AZ underneath THIS opening sentence:

"Arizona Republicans can pat themselves on the back: fewer students are being educated."

Okay, put down the bong and try and focus on this: if 1,000+ illegal aliens aren't at college, what do you think happened to those college admission slots? Did they just disappear into thin air?

No, you moron. They were taken up by U.S. citizen students. Meaning that there is NO NET CHANGE in the number of "students... being educated." But there ARE 1,000+ individuals enrolled in AZ colelges who are not actively breaking the law.

But hey - why let facts ruin a good rant, huh? That's VF's motto.

Sea Bass
Sea Bass

Hate to break it to you, CJAZ -- I'm sure this is the first time you have ever been wrong, so I'll do it gently -- but there is, in fact, a net loss of educated students.

But James Rund, senior vice president for educational outreach and student services at ASU, said the notion that illegal immigrants were pushing out legal students is incorrect.

“We’ve made a commitment to the citizens of the state of Arizona that we will enroll all college-eligible students at the university,” Rund said. “Space or constraints on space has not been an issue for us.”

CJAZ
CJAZ

Sorry, Sea Bass - don't believe everything you read (assuming you didn't just make all this up - it's called documenting a source, you should try it sometime). An official responsible for attracting students to his (public) university is NEVER going to say or anything that implies a lack of space at his or her institution. It would be tantamount to an eco-activist pointing out that any localized efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions won't make a dent in the progress of "global warming." (even though it's true)

To say that ASU or any other AZ public school always accepts every applicant who meets its "standards" is as laughable as the idea that an educational institution facing cuts and budget shortfalls doesn't have to worry about space constraints.

Sea Bass
Sea Bass

Sorry dipshit. Should've said it's in the Cronkite News story.

bigriggs
bigriggs

Every state should pass a similar law like this one.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

With all the self-help and educational sites on the web - a college is getting to be moot.

Concerned Reader
Concerned Reader

What would it take for these students to become documented?

Allan
Allan

There is currently no legal way for them to become documented. The current procedure is thus:When over 18 years old, they have to return to their legal country and apply at the U.S. consulate for a visa (In Mexico, the only consulate that accepts the applications is Juarez!!)When filling out the form, any falsehood will disqualify them for life. They have to disclose that they have lived in the U.S. without papers for over a year. That infraction imposes an automatic visa rejection and adds a 10 year penalty before another application can be considered.However, they can then apply for a waiver for the rejected application. The prime consideration that may help, is how does the rejuction of the visa impose a critical hardship on a U.S. citizen. Family separation, financial hardship, U.S. spouse, U.S. child is not considered. Few waivers are granted. The waiver process takes many months, even years, for a reply.While out of the country, the kids are separated from family, support systems, relatives. They cannot return even for funerals, births, etc.

The only rational solution is either comprehensive immigration reform or at least passing the DREAM act. The current laws for the kids are unjust and increasing the loss of talent for the U.S. and creating a permanent underclass who are labeled "illegal" by statute, not by any act of their own behavior which is in contrast to our basic principles: "liberty and justice for all", "inalienable rights" "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"

concerned :/
concerned :/

It is clear that Arizona is a bad state for young people and education. The complacent electorate had chosen ideologues who trampled with notions of progress, and common good.To sideline talented, integrated immigrants is denying ourselves a prosperous future of taxpayers who can pay more with better incomes.These young immigrants are not going back to their countries of origins because there is nothing for them there. Some fortunate ones will be able to attend education in more rational, educated and less hateful states. That represents a brain drain for our state.Arizona politicians has always viewed education as an expense rather as an investment and they want to cut education of what they perceive are their enemies, when in reality are the best citizens, assets they can hope and wish for.With each student that is denying education, we loose not only a future professional but the ripple effect that their diligence could bring when they act as role models for more underprivileged students.SAD times for Arizona.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Actually, a child of an immigrant brought here to the U.S. after their birth can, with the proper procedures, apply for citizenship. I would take this opportunity to advise any parent (of an undocumented child) who hopes their child will attend college in the U.S. to start early to assist their child to apply for citizenship. There are attorneys who can help with this process. Many of these attorneys will provide free advice through clinics. In addition, the library has free access for everyone to the web, where, with a little persistence, one can find out the information needed to assist the young undocumented youth to apply for citizenship.

Please don't make the poor think they have no options - they do. It just takes a little preparation and stick-to-it ness.

Meanwhile, I agree with Central Scruitinizer, we need to change our immigration laws through comprehensive immigration reform. Whatever we can do to encourage our young people to get a good education is important. If these undocumented students and their families who want to get an education in Arizona's colleges are NOT on the front lines in the immigration reform debate - they have no one to blame but themselves. We all know the challenges - Rednecks, hate, bigotry, the false dichotomy of an economic struggle between the people trying to get ahead at the lower end of the economic scale, etc. It's up to us to overcome them, through political means or otherwise.

Here's a suggestion, form a co-operative college and everyone who buys in can get a cheap education. Here's an example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...

or Mondragon in Spain

http://freeschools.wordpress.c...

Central Scrutinizer
Central Scrutinizer

Good.

It takes filling out forms to get into college. If you're going to fill out forms, do it at INS first.

concerned :/
concerned :/

That is an ignorant comment, so typical. There is not paperwork at INS to fill for these students, because they were brought here as babies and young children and their fate is doomed by the extremely cruel and impractical immigration laws.Their parents also would not being able to access a process of legalization because they are very few ways. Those ways of legalization do not reflect the supply-demand realities of the economy of the USA or the immigrants.

Central Scrutinizer
Central Scrutinizer

Then change the laws. Until then, we have to adhere to them. It's, you know, the law.

teknik1200
teknik1200

no, we can refuse to obey unjust laws. we are a country of freedom first. don't let politicians trick us into thinking we live in a police state.

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