DREAMers, DACA grantees return to Maricopa County Community Colleges with In-State-tuition
The following DACA field report comes from Carmen Cornejo of Dream Act Arizona:
In what is considered one of the most
important milestones for DREAMers in Arizona and across the nation, the Arizona
DREAM Act Coalition will be celebrating Monday, January the 7th the return of
immigrant youth, DACA grantees, to Maricopa County Community Colleges (MCCCD)
This situation comes as a reversal of
bad policy on the immigration-education landscape of Arizona and it is a sign
of hope for the economic future in the State and the nation, thanks to DACA.
After the passage of prop.300
and implementation of anti-education, anti-immigrant laws in Arizona, the
enrollment of undocumented immigrant youth, DREAMers, to higher education
institutions collapsed. There was no ban in place but the cost of
education, which tripled by out-of-state fees, was put out of the reach of immigrant
With the announcement by president
Obama on June 15th granting Deferred Action for persons who arrived
as children to the USA (DACA), a door was open for those who apply for this
process, get a work permit, to request In-State-Tuition at Maricopa Community
Maricopa Community Colleges is the
largest Community Colleges System in the nation.
Since 2007, when Arizona's Prop
300 took effect and the state began to keep track of undocumented students, it
has come evident the number of undocumented students attending state's
universities and community colleges has fallen dramatically. Read
this article by journalist Griselda Nevarez. 1,524 students who were
attending one of the three public universities in 2007 were not able to
prove a legal status. The number of students in this situation had dropped to
13 by the spring 2012 semester.
There were 1,470 students who
couldn't prove a legal status and were attending the state's community colleges
in spring 2007. By 2012 that number had dropped to 882. Most of these students
were only taking one or two classes at a time.
"In the past years we saw a
collapse participation of immigrant youth population in community
colleges and Universities, in spite of the talent dreamers had demonstrated
when they graduate from high schools, being top of the class and
valedictorians. It is an absolute waste of human resources and talent",
said Dulce Matuz, president of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition. "We are not
seeking special treatment; we are only striving for a leveled plain
field. We are taxpayers too and we support education through our taxes,
some of us for decades", said Matuz.
To be granted In-State-Tuition at
MCCCD is necessary for the DACA grantees to present the work authorization card
(I-766) and another document that demonstrates their residence in Maricopa
is the set of documents that may be presented (scroll down to County
The move from MCCCD granting
In-State-tuitions came, in great part, to the pressure dreamers and advocates
had put to MCCCD when all venues for affordable education were closed during
the spring of 2011. Dreamers had been able to access classes with
in-state-tuition when taking one or two classes due to a special administrative
classification in place for many years back. ADAC members protested MCCCD
and held many private meetings into the reasoning behind closing the last
administrative venue for affordable tuition. Read
this article on the series of protests.
So far in State-Tuition in
Arizona is only attainable at Maricopa County Community Colleges District
(MCCCD). We advocates are encouraging Arizona Board of Regents and other Community
Colleges in Arizona to find legal tools and grant IST to DACA grantees.