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Thursday, March 4, 2021

State

SGA fights for ‘American dream for all students’


In the midst of the ongoing immigration debates, UH and the Student Government Association stand strong by their stance on reform.

During the Bandoh-Harris administration, SGA passed a resolution, authored by Senators Guillermo Lopez, a political science senior, and Mafe Alfaro, a recent political science graduate, in support of a Texas Senate bill that allows undocumented students who attended high school in Texas three years prior to graduation to qualify as a Texas resident for tuition purposes.

Additionally, the resolution works to urge the Texas Congressional delegation to work in a bipartisan manner to pass a comprehensive reform bill. However, this is just the first step in a long process.

“This resolution is very important because it shows our commitment to ensuring access to higher education and the American dream for all students,” said supply chain management senior and SGA president Cedric Bandoh.

“We have a significant number of undocumented students and as the immigration debate intensifies this summer, we want to ensure that we speak out against any attempts, whether statewide or nationally, to deny these students benefits.”

Bandoh said whether the benefits are derived from the DREAM Act or STEM Jobs Act, SGA wants the undocumented students to succeed with the provisions provided by these laws with the hopes that it eventually leads to comprehensive immigration reform.

Yet, immigration reform is still overcoming hurdles in Congress. Just this week the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the Gang of Eight plan, their first major victory, which, if enacted, will help most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country establish citizenship under certain requirements.

Similarly, student leaders still have work to do to further their point. Though the bill passed in the 49th administration, members of SGA are still working to ensure that the progress continues.

“I am currently meeting with other student government leaders from other universities to lie out a course of action for when the immigration reform bill hits the floor of the Senate,” Lopez said. “We plan on actively speaking to our senators on this issue and eventually our representatives in the House of Representatives when they have a bill ready.”

In addition to this, Bandoh will be discussing the matter nationwide with the National Campus Leadership Council as well as other student body presidents, while the UH Law Center will continue to help students apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to help undocumented individuals apply for work permits if they meet certain requirements.

“Since we passed the SGA resolution, the bipartisan Gang of Eight has introduced a bill to the committee that lays out many of the things we outlined in the SGA resolution,” Lopez said, “and we expect a bipartisan coalition of students and student leaders throughout Texas to fight for this issue that means a lot to thousands of students and their families.”

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