LatinaLista — Being an undocumented student is hard enough without state legislators drafting bills singling out these students. Legislators in Georgia have been particularly unkind to undocumented students.
[caption id="attachment_23414" align="alignleft" width="300"] Freedom University board member and award-winning writer Junot Diaz spars with comedian Stephen Colbert over the education of undocumented students.[/caption]
The policy, adopted last fall by the university system's Board of Regents, bars any state college or university that has rejected academically qualified applicants in the previous two years from admitting illegal immigrants. That includes five Georgia colleges and universities: the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Medical College of Georgia and Georgia College & State University. Illegal immigrants may still be admitted to any other state college or university, provided that they pay out-of-state tuition.
In 2011, Georgia's university system's Board of Regents adopted a harsh rule: any state college or university that had rejected academically qualified applicants in the previous two years were barred from admitting undocumented students.
The measure included five Georgia colleges and universities: the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Medical College of Georgia and Georgia College & State University. Undocumented students could still be admitted to any other state college or university, provided that they paid out-of-state tuition.
The passage of the bill angered university educators and five banded together to create their own university targeting undocumented students which would supply courses that mirrored those taught at the state's top schools and which were prohibited from accepting undocumented students.
Since opening, Freedom University has not only educated college-qualified undocumented students but has found itself increasingly in the bullseye of advocating for immigration reform and speaking out against the draconian laws being drafted in Georgia.
The award-winning writer Junot Diaz, a Freedom University advisory board member, appeared on The Colbert Report to talk about Freedom University and their battles for an equal education.
The latest actions of the Georgia legislature have alarmed Freedom University officials to the point that they are asking the public's help in calling Georgia legislators from achieving their latest mean-spirited attack on the state's undocumented immigrants and students.
Please make calls to stop more anti-immigrant legislation!
HB 125 and SB 160 were originally supportable bills that fixed the paperwork problem created by the burdensome HB 87. The House hijacked both bills with provisions that would not allow a Passport to be used as valid stand-alone ID in Georgia and seeks to make it difficult or impossible for DACA recipients to get drivers licenses. The bills also have several other objectionable amendments including requiring proof of citizenship to get Homestead Exemption and Tax Credits (a new paperwork burden for county departments).
Do not believe descriptions of the bill as a simple tweaking to solve a paperwork processing problem…with the amendments it does much more damage to Georgians and our reputation. These two bills will be going back and forth between chambers all this week, so you can also call your legislators but the priority is to make calls every day this week to:
Gov. Deal (404) 656-1776
Lt. Governor Cagle (404) 656-5030
House Speaker David Ralston (404) 656-5020
Message: “Please support ONLY the original versions of HB 125 and SB 160. Let’s not divide Georgia again by debating anti-immigrant proposals added to the bills.”