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Paloma Salazar
Ms. Snow
Composition 1311
27 October 2016
Immigration Policy in the Arkansas Public University System
The need for a higher education is essential in wanting to have economic as well as social
advancement in the 21st century. This is also the case for a majority of Hispanic students around
the country. Many of these students come from an immigrant background, and tend to be first
generation in this country. The parents of these students flee their native countries in the hope
that they can provide their children with better opportunities. In doing so, these children,
sometimes immigrant themselves, find it very difficult to be able to go to college, when there are
very many odds against them. Thanks to the Obama administration, and many years of
protesting, immigrant children were granted an executive order policy, which would help their
situations only momentarily. Although this legislation has given many students better
advancements, it is still flawed, and not fully recognized by many states. The Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals, or DACA (immigrationequality.org), along with many scholarships, gives
students the opportunity to attend college, and although its purpose is to facilitate the
advancement of these students, sometimes the DACA status, actually presents more fiscal
obstacles to them.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was an executive action set into play by the
Obama administration in June 2012. The executive actions purpose is to eliminate the
deportation of a person temporarily, primarily a student, in order to allow them to continue their
studies or work in the United States. The requirements to even be considered for DACA include:

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arriving to the United States before the age of 16, living in the United States for at least 5 years
starting in June 2007, currently enrolled in school or obtained a high school diploma, and not
have any felony (uscis.gov). To many immigrant students across the nation, including here in
Arkansas, DACA, was a form of willingness. This executive action, granted the door of
opportunities for many students who aspired it. Scholarship foundations have also become
acceptant of the DACA status, in order to grant students funds to be able to pay for college.
These foundations include: The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the
National Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and the Univision Scholarship Fund. Students were
presented with more opportunistic ways of obtaining a higher education.
Unlike a residency or citizenship application, DACA, is only a temporary status that
delays deportation priority of these students. DACA comes with many advantages for students
wanting to advance their education, which includes pricing. The current filing fee for DACA,
according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is only $465 versus $580 for a green
card, which is not inclusive of medical examination fees as well as lawyer consultations. Since
students have fewer fees to worry about, and can sometimes have them waived, they can
reallocate their funds on wanting to pursue a higher education. Although, DACA grants a cheaper
temporary alternative for students to be reliant on, its benefits dont necessarily target other
issues in the public university system in Arkansas.
Certain states across the nation dont recognize DACA, according to David B. Thronson.
In Arkansas, one of the biggest issues students with the DACA status face, are incredibly high
tuition rates. Since the executive action is quite new, the Arkansas University Public system, has
failed to create policy to fix this issue with students. For example, some students dont fit the
categories of in-state tuition since they technically dont have a legal status, and are instead

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forced to pay out-of state tuition even if they have resided in Arkansas most of their lives. Which
brings another great point, DACA is not a form of indicating legal status, only delaying students
from getting deported. These limitations set students with other obstacles unforeseen. Also,
renewing DACA can be quite the process that must be done every 2 years. Every time it is
renewed, the fees must be paid again, and there is no guarantee on how long it will take the form
to arrive to students. DACA also does not guarantee students access to any university
scholarships, which makes students highly reliant on private scholarships and money out of
pocket to pay for school. According to Thronson, DACA is not in compliance with any
international human rights law, because it is so rigid (pg.135). What then, can be done to
improve the acceptance of such a form that is supposed to help advance many talented students,
and not set them back?
For most, the Arkansas University Public System could temporarily adjust their policy to
allow students to obtain the tuition rates they deserve. Many of the students, are as much if not
more competent for scholarship money as other students, and should be given the chance to
apply for university scholarships. Some have taken the matter into their own will to fix, such as
Chancellor David Gerhart at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, who formed committees
to ensure private funds to help cover the extra out of state tuition for students. Many students
across the nation are forming coalitions to make improvements to the executive action in order to
hopefully make it a more permanent solution. It is hard to predict whether DACA will be existent
in the future, and what will happen to current DACA students if the action were demolished.
It is not easy for students who tackle language, economic, and social barriers in a foreign
country, to ambition more in such a flourishing country. For many of these immigrant students,
being back in their native country symbolizes cruel violence, poverty, and in many occasions no

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opportunities to even graduate high school. Coming to a country where these are not as
concerning, relieves some pressure for students, but the need to continue their education is
essential in shaping their future. We hear stories of fellow immigrants, like Dr. Alfredo-Quinonez
who defeated all the odds and become an international hero of medicine, but he is only one story
of a pool of 11.4 million other immigrants (nytimes.com). It is unfair to continue to ignore this
population when there is an immense magnitude of potential within it. So, what will the
Arkansas University Public System do to improve the matter locally?

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Works Cited:



Thronson, David B. "Closing The Gap: Daca, Dapa, And U.S. Compliance With International
Human Rights Law." Case Western Reserve Journal Of International Law 48.1/2 (2016): 127136. Business Source Complete. Web. 21 Sept. 2016.