Over a year ago, our state legislature passed a law effectively barring undocumented students from attending our community colleges, after implementing similar rules in 2006 at our state universities. This forced a lot of undocumented students, including my straight A husband who is also legally barred from accepting scholarships despite his hard work, to drop out of school. After a lot of brainstorming and plotting for the past year+ we were unable to find a viable option for him to return to school thus far.
First we tried applying to the University of North Dakota. The tuition was reasonable and the admissions people were very nice and helpful but we hit a wall when they asked for DH’s I-94 since DH could not be classified as an in-state or out-of-state student. We also applied to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with the same experience. This American university plan was not going to work.
Then we tried applying to the University of New Brunswick in Canada. DH was accepted for the Fall 2011 semester and under the advice of an attorney specializing in Canadian immigration, we asked to be processed at the Canadian embassy in California. Months passed, we asked the university to defer his entry (Spring 2012) which they did, then we received our application back stating that they could not process the application. DH scrambled to reapply to UNB for Fall 2012 and send the student visa application to the Canadian consulate in Romania, where Bulgarians are served.
This week we learned that our application was refused based on DH’s current immigration status. We were told they are not confident we will leave Canada after DH’s course of study to which we argued that our plan was to take advantage of Bulgaria’s membership in the European Union to find work in an English-speaking country after our visas expired. They basically told us not to reapply unless DH’s status changed. I think we’ve exhausted our escape route options, so we’ll see what happens next.
I’ve been researching my family history in the meantime because it felt good to be consumed by something other than worry. I’m the type of person who obsesses over things, so the distraction from our situation is great. My family has roots all over the American Southwest and I was surprised to learn of immigrants in our family history just a few generations back, and more surprised to learn that our roots extend to Europe. This new information has reminded me that people will always seek the opportunity to better their lives. The U.S. would do well to remember our roots.
Here’s the Ethnic Studies Audit (H/T to Three Sonorans for making it available to everyone)
Summary on page 53: “During the curriculum audit period, no observable evidence was present to suggest that any classroom within Tucson Unified School District is in direct violation of the law A.R.S. 15-112.”
Huppenthal ignores audit he commissioned Blog for Arizona
“This decision is not about politics; it is about education,” Huppenthal said. “I have a legal responsibility to uphold the law and a professional imperative to ensure every student has access to an excellent education.”
Journalists there had no time to read or even browse the 120 page report. It was not provided to them in PDF form, and the presser itself did not discuss the report’s actual findings.
Nearly one year ago, extremist Tea Party state senator John Huppenthal ran for Arizona’s superintendent of education post with an inflammatory campaign to “stop la raza” and terminate Tucson’s acclaimed Ethnic Studies/Mexican American Studies (MAS) Program.
The Maricopa Community Colleges used to charge $96 per credit hour for anyone taking 6 credit hours or less a semester. This is how many undocumented students were able to attend class, including my husband. This is a very slow and frustrating route to higher education, but at least it made education possible. A student could take two 3-credit classes for about $576 or a class with a long lab for about $384.
This is no more, at least in this district. The district board has decided to increase the fees to $317 per credit hour. Your average three credit hour class will now cost an undocumented student $915 and with no chance for financial aid, means the end of dreams for many students. The new rates go in to effect in July.
Last month, the Phoenix New Times reported that Board President, Mr. Lumm, warned students that the measure was intended to target undocumented students. Many members disagreed, especially Debra Pearson, who is a member of the Minuteman Civil
Dense Defense Corps.
Some students have decided to leave Arizona in hopes of finding schools with lower tuition rates and less strict residency rules. My husband and I are planning to save a little money before we look for another school for him to attend.
Representative Kavanagh decided to put in place a plan that would put Balbir Singh Sodhi‘s name back on the memorial should his legislation be signed by Brewer.
From Jim Walsh’s article:
“I apologized for dredging up the sorrow once again. I apologized for any misunderstanding,” Kavanagh said.
Rana Singh Sodhi said he appreciates Kavanagh’s apology and his offer to correct the error if Brewer signs the bill.
“Despite the fact that a costly state-commissioned audit has been delayed and largely discredited, and a new federal suit has recently been filed by the affected Mexican American Studies teachers, the once defiant Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) governing board could buckle under the state’s bullying and consider a resolution that effectively castrates one of their district’s most acclaimed programs.
Only months ago, TUSD officials vowed to “fight to the end” against the bizarre HB2281 law passed by the extremist Tea Party-controlled Arizona state legislature, which bans any school program that advocates the overthrow of the government. TUSD superintendent John Pedicone had defiantly challenged: “How can we be out of compliance with a law that’s unconstitutional?”
That sentiment seems to have waned quickly, as Arizona’s rabid state administrators ramped up threats to cut $15 million from the TUSD budget for any program non-compliance with the new law.”
Some Arizona news:
The brother of a local Sikh killed during a hate crime in the wake of 9-11 is trying to get the state government to keep his brother’s name on the memorial.
“It seems like they are making a hate crime again. They are attacking me directly again,” said Rana Singh Sodhi, a Mesa restaurant owner who since his brother’s slaying has devoted his life to fighting racial and religious intolerance.
“What are they trying to do, zero us out, zero out the impact? I can’t sleep. It’s hurting me.”
Members of the Valley’s Sikh community and the chief prosecutor who put Singh Sodhi’s killer in prison said they thought the legislation was a poorly-thought-out attempt to rewrite history and they are urging Gov. Jan Brewer to veto it.
The bill, which passed both houses on party-line votes, was sponsored by Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, who said Monday that he did only a cursory Internet search on Singh Sodhi’s murder. Kavanagh said it was unclear to him that the shooting was directly related to 9/11.
However, Frank Roque, who was convicted of murdering Singh Sodhi, told Mesa police during a tape-recorded interrogation that he was consumed with hatred toward “Arabs” after 9/11. He admitted shooting Singh Sodhi and firing on two other targets that day: a gas station with Middle Eastern owners and a house Roque sold to people of Arab ancestry.