Tomorrow, the Central Student Government will vote on a resolution in support of offering in-state tuition at the University for undocumented immigrants who graduate from a Michigan high school. Currently, undocumented students must pay costly international student tuition rates and are barred from any federal loan, grant or work-study assistance. They must rely on private loans and scholarships to pay tuition, which makes affording a college education impossible for most undocumented students paying even nominal fees. Passing this resolution is an important step in establishing the University as a community committed to equal opportunities for education.

Every year, thousands of young, undocumented immigrants leave high school in this country with few options for their future. They are systematically denied rights to education, employment, and political representation. In some states, it’s even illegal for a citizen to provide assistance to an undocumented person, even if they are not aware of the person’s status.

Immigration is a complex issue. While there are many reasons why a person would come to or choose to stay in the United States illegally, two things are clear: Many of these undocumented immigrants were brought into the country as young children. They grew up here, made friends, played basketball and went to prom with everyone else. America is their only home. A child’s legal status should not take away from their talent and skills. By offering this opportunity at the University, this demonization would end.

The University of Michigan has a long tradition of being a leader for social justice. Several other states have already passed legislation offering in-state tuition for undocumented students, including California, Texas, Illinois, New Mexico, New York and Wisconsin. When the CSG passes the resolution in support of in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, we will once again be proclaiming our support for human dignity.

Emily Miller
Graduate School of Social Work

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