A.S. Resolution Passed to Expand Resources for Undocumented Students

Senators listen to a speaker. at Wednesday's meeting. (Photo by Dominick Ojeda / Staff Photographer)

Minh Hua
Staff Writer

Associated Students Senate unanimously passed a resolution on Wednesday to allocate funds for expanding legal resources for undocumented students on campus.

The resolution, authored by On-Campus Senator Steven Ho and Off-Campus Senator Brandon Mora, summarized a list of demands by IDEAS (Improving Dream Equality Access and Success). IDEAS is an organization that undocumented students established to provide financial, academic, and emotional support for at least 800 undocumented undergraduate students on campus.

These demands consisted of hiring a full-time immigration attorney stationed at UCSB, expanding the Center for Undocumented Students, and addressing undocumented student financial gaps.

According to the Independent, 10 undocumented men were picked up by ICE officials in Santa Barbara County last May. The resolution states that fear of deportation may negatively impact undocumented students’ academics because immigration laws continue to make them feel unsafe.

The Huffington Post published a story earlier this year following the mental collapse of a young woman living in fear of deportation. Doctors attributed the experience of living as an undocumented immigrant as one of the triggers for her condition.

Researchers have also backed this finding. Living in risk of deportation “creates an air of constant fear and being on edge. They are afraid to go outside, to look out of place in a certain neighborhood, and to go out and seek a job,” wrote Dr. Concepcion Barrio, associate professor at the USC School of Social Work, in a blog post.

The resolution also mentioned renovating the A.S. Annex to be more accessible for undocumented students. A.S. Executive Director Marisela Márquez stated that the renovations will include fixing the kitchen and the fan in the A.S. Annex to provide a more accessible space for undocumented students and the student body in general.

The funds will also be used to hire additional undocumented students program coordinators to facilitate the process of applying for scholarships and internships.

“Although undocumented students may qualify for a tuition exemption under AB 540 legislation, UCSB cannot provide any federal funds to undocumented students,” according to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. “Undocumented students may pursue funds from outside agencies that determine eligibility for their funds without regard to citizenship status.”

The resolution stressed that there are pre-existing resources within Associated Students that can be reallocated to meet the needs of the undocumented community.

“These expansions would come at no additional cost because these funds have already been reflected in the proposed 2018-2019 AS administrative budget,” the resolution stated.

In addition to IDEAS, the UCSB Dream Scholars/ Undocumented Student Services on campus also provides legal and career services for the undocumented students community. Undocumented Student Services declined to comment on the resolution.

Undocumented students in need of assistance can contact Undocumented Students Services at ucsbundocstudentservices@sa.ucsb.edu or call their coordinator Diana Valdivia at (805) 893-5609.