Some UVU undocumented students have the benefit of paying in-state tuition, but they could also be at risk of deportation if the Supreme Court rules on July 14th that the Utah Immigration Enforcement Law, HB 497 is constitutional.
As a public school, UVU is subject to a law that allows some undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. During fall of 2010, there were more than 130 undocumented students registered at the school whom qualified for the waiver.
Even though some undocumented students pay in-state tuition, that, does not mean they are able to fix their immigration status.
“I qualify to pay in-state tuition but I can’t get an internship or a job in the field I have chosen to study,” said one of the undocumented students who’s name will not be revealed as per her request. “I still hear I can get deported if an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer asks me about my immigration status.”
The fear of deportation has increased among UVU’s undocumented students since the state of Utah passed a bill that allows local police officers to check the immigration status of anyone arrested. Police officers can even check the immigration status of those arrested for a traffic violation if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the person detained or any of the occupants are in the country illegally.
“Unless they were charged with some serious crime, I wouldn’t think it should be an issue that they even have to look into,” said Megan Anderson, an Elementary Education student. “This is going to be a violation of rights here.”
“Even if I was from England, even if I was from France, they wouldn’t check my status because I look white,” said Mark Cerda, member of the Kapa Sigma Club and Physics student.
Professor Eileen Nagle strongly supports immigration laws that benefit the ones who are contributing to this country, as opposed to a law that requires police officers to check immigration status, “I don’t think it is their job to check their immigration status, it is a federal situation. The police have too much work already.”
Cerda thinks that if this law goes into effect, the “stress level of the immigrant community will increase.”
Nagle strongly believes that potential international students will prefer to go to other states for their education than rather coming to Utah.
“Any student who is here whether documented or undocumented are making their lives better, why not let them?”