The advocacy group Connecticut Students For A Dream (C4D) provided a free bus trip to D.C. on Tuesday morning, Sep 5, 2017 in anticipation of the Trump administration’s announcement on ending DACA. #AffordtoDREAM is C4D’s current campaign with a goal of equal access to financial aid for all students, regardless of immigration status. They are working on passing two State bills this year.
Carolina Bortolleto, a spokeswoman for C4D told the Hartford Courant: “It’s something we’ve been expecting since he took office. We are going to take our message down there and make it count. People are standing up and fighting against this. It’s morally wrong to take it away.”
C4D held meetings across the state last week to educate new leaders on how to assist undocumented students.
HB7000 has support from Officials at the University of Connecticut, the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System, and at the Board of Regents of Higher Education. In the 2016 and 2015 legislative sessions, a similar measure was voted out of committee and passed the Senate with over thirty co-sponsors.
In 2011, C4D helped students receive In-State tuition rates, saving thousands of dollars compared to the out-of-state price they were paying. Even with that savings, without access to financial aid, many undocumented students still can not afford tuition at all.
Currently undocumented immigrants are not eligible for state or federal scholarships and can’t apply for aid from student generated funds that they have paid into. The problem is in the application process. They use the FAFSA “needs analysis” to rate eligibility and FAFSA doesn’t allow undocumented students to apply. Nothing in CT law bars undocumented students from receiving aid, but because of a technical issue, they can’t apply.
According to Senator Chris Murphy’s office, Connecticut has over 10,000 DACA recipients and the 19th largest number of eligible students in the US. C4D is asking people to call elected representatives and voice your support for DACA and common sense legislation. Information is available on the website, including phone numbers and instructions on what to say when making the calls. You can easily get involved by signing up here.
CT4D’s made a statement on Facebook Tuesday night:
“Today, as Trump terminated DACA, our leaders and youth were taking to the streets in Washington DC, Stamford, and ECSU- showing that our community is resilient and strong!
This administration wants nothing more than for us to live in silence and live in fear. They want to control us. But today, in DC and around the state, we declared, we will not stay silent, we will not go quietly into the shadows. This is our home and we are here to stay. Ready to fight? Join us in the fight to defend our communities > bit.ly/CTdefendsImmigrants”
Trump’s decision to end DACA will hopefully force Congress to pass common sense immigration reform. The undocumented residents of CT still had obstacles with DACA in place, but without it, students will face a constant fear of deportation and discrimination. If Congress fails to act, it will be the state’s duty to defend our undocumented community and protect the American dream for the thousands of dreamers that call Connecticut home.
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