Can Dreamers Go To College in Arizona?

By: Alejandra Espinoza
OwlFeed Journalist

Colleges in Arizona are unable to offer instate tuition due to a recent Arizona Supreme Court ruling. Azcentral explained how “the court issued a brief decision order saying justices unanimously agreed with the Arizona Court of Appeals’ ruling that said existing federal and state laws don’t allow the Maricopa Community Colleges to grant in-state tuition rates for DACA recipients.”

DACA stands for  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It is an American immigration policy opens doors for individuals who were brought to the United States illegally as faultless children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit in the United States.

Now affording college would be nearly impossible because “more than 2,000 DACA recipients, commonly referred to as ‘Dreamers,’ currently attend community college or a state university in Arizona and pay in-state rates. The ruling will make DACA recipients pay much more to attend these schools, as out-of-state rates are about triple the cost of in-state tuition,” Azcentral explained.

This ruling causes a social stain on students because of the fear of not being able to succeed in this nation. The fight for equality for DACA recipients has united some students. One student, Alejandra Cruz Valdez, gave her experience with DACA

“It’s hard. It’s devastating to see my peers fear for their futures,” Cruz Valdez said. “They’ve been here learning and grinding away hours on schoolwork only to have the rug pulled from under them. My oldest brother had to try to get into college before DACA and I remember him going into a depression…He was a decent student but he didn’t have the opportunity that DACA gives and could give. Just imagining that so many more people I care about could fall into something like that makes me want to fight for it.”

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Rosa Espinoza

Arizona colleges are taking action and providing support groups for DACA students on campus. Northern Arizona University has sent out emails saying, “As policy in our nation continues to criminalize immigrants, it is important to understand how our fellow students and community members are being impacted. Come learn more and hear stories first hand from NAU DREAMers.” Then the email had a location where the students could meet.

The repeal of DACA and the exclusion of DACA recipients will cost thousands of students opportunities. The US Supreme Court, on the other hand, ruled “U.S. Must Keep DACA and Accept New Applications,” according to NY Times.

It is unclear how this will affect the Arizona DACA in-state tuition ruling.