Nicole Vaiana" />
side bar
Friday, September 22, 2023


UH organizations work for rights, citizenship of immigrants seeking education

Two student organizations are helping the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. become citizens, one person at a time.

The UH chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens seeks to improve economic, educational and political conditions for the country’s Hispanic population, also helps immigrants, LULAC Vice President Raymond Ruiz said.

Familias, Immigrantes y Estudiantes en la Lucha (Immigrant Families in the Struggle) works to keep relatives together.

LULAC members are trained on how to properly fill out U.S. citizenship applications, a process that is often a barrier for immigrants, Ruiz said.

"By walking people through the application process we increase their chances of getting their applications accepted as well as saving them money by not having to apply again," Ruiz said.

LULAC members have also participated in marches throughout the school year to raise awareness of immigration rights, mostly those of undocumented workers, he said. The workers, Ruiz said, "live in the shadows" while the government decides their citizenship status and often end up taking low paying jobs.

"Most everyone is in agreement that our immigration laws are in dire need of an overhaul," Ruiz said. "While the public fights over the best way to proceed, the undocumented immigrant is stuck in no-man’s land."

Political science junior Cesar Espinosa, FIEL president and founder, said the primary goal of the organization is not only to keep immigrant families from being split apart but also to see the passage of the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act in Congress to allow for "true, comprehensive immigration reform."

"The DREAM Act would legalize tens of thousands of undocumented students across the U.S., including students at UH," Espinosa said. "We want this act to pass and actually give people the opportunity to reach the ‘American Dream.’"

FIEL began in May 2007 with 11 students and four advisors from various high schools and has grown to four chapters to assist in building what Espinosa calls the Immigrant’s Rights Movement.

The organization raises immigrant awareness through rallies, community forums and financial aid seminars, he said.

"We know the U.S. is built on solid principles of liberty and justice for all," Espinosa said. "We would just like to see these promises be kept and the dignity of all immigrants to be upheld."

Additional reporting by Daily Cougar staff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑
  • Sign up for our Email Edition

  • Polls

    What about UH will you miss the least this summer?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...