Student Government discusses University’s stance on immigration policies

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Student Government Assembly Speaker Santiago Rosales addressed the Student Government meeting on Feb. 21.
Photo Credit: Yifan Lyu | Daily Texan Staff

Since the beginning of his administration, President Trump has taken a stance on immigration, and UT Student Government is doing the same.


On Tuesday, UT’s University Leadership Initiative organization fast-tracked Assembly Resolution 23, which calls out the federal government for actions attempting to intimidate undocumented students. The resolution appeals to UT student body to help educate the community about immigrant rights.


“During the Trump administration, we have seen an increase in (attacks) on undocumented immigrants,” said Alejandra Zenedejas Castillo, a member of the University Leadership Initiative and one of the authors of the resolution. “I believe this resolution helps voice the University’s opinion of Trump’s treatment of immigrants and the first initiative in taking a stance against him.”


Speaker Santiago Rosales, who is another author of the resolution, said he wants to emphasize the fact that this issue very much affects students at UT and anyone who has undocumented family and friends.


“Several students across the country have already been detained, which wasn’t an issue during the Obama administration,” Rosales said. “This resolution essentially helps inform students what rights undocumented immigrants have and what their response should be if they are personally affected by the current immigration bills.”


Currently, there are no services on campus for undocumented immigrants to seek advice regarding current immigration policies, according to the resolution.


“This is supposed to serve as an introduction for undocumented students to learn about what kind of steps they can take when dealing with immigration officials,” Rosales said.


Following along the same lines as A.R. 23, ULI also introduced Assembly Resolution 24, which states that SG resists any efforts by the state legislature to prohibit undocumented students from being eligible for in-state tuition. The resolution is in response to Rep. Mark Keough, R-The Woodlands, House Bill 753, which seeks to amend Texas law to remove the ability of undocumented students to be charged in-state tuition.


“The point of the bill was to target students who have no right to be detained or hurt by immigration policies,” Rosales said. “We want to address this bill as quickly as possible.”


Samuel Cervantes, a member of the ULI, said this resolution is a great way for SG to take a stance on the bill and show Texas Legislature the University is against the effort to pass the bill.


“One of the only ways I could go to UT is because of the in-state tuition,” Cervantes said. “If the UT community wants to continue to let undocumented students know that they are and always will be Longhorns, this resolution is the key.”


Cervantes said UT students with citizenship status have the ability to call their representatives and voice their opposition to the bill in a way undocumented students cannot.


“Through the resolution, students have an ability to help those who don’t have a voice,” Cervantes said. “It’s one thing to say you’ll take action against the bill, but passing this resolution is actual action.”


ULI is an organization that fights for the rights of the undocumented community at the local, state, and national levels focusing on education equity, deportation defense, LGBTQ inclusion and legislation, according to the  ULI website.


A.R. 23 was passed and A.R. 24 was submitted to the Student Committee.