Unanimous decision declares DACA students are not eligible for in state college tuition




Jose: GOOD EVENING, I AM JOSÉ CÁRDENAS. WELCOME TO "HORIZONTE." THE ARIZONA SUPREME COURT RULES THAT ARIZONA CAN'T GIVE INSTATE TUITION TO STUDENTS UNDER THE DACA PROGRAM. AND AN ORGANIZATION THAT USES CHILDREN'S PASSION FOR PLAY TO INSTILL SOCIAL LEARNING SKILLS. IN SOUNDS OF COTURA SOC FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ART AND CULTURE COME TOGETHER. THAT IS NEXT ON "HORIZONTE."

"HORIZONTE" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIEND OF AZ PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION.

Reporter: THIS WEEK THE ARIZONA SUPREME COURT RULED THAT STUDENTS COVED UNDER THE DACA PROGRAM ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR INSTATE COLLEGE TUITION. THE UNANIMOUS RULING FROM THE COURT STEMS FROM A LAWSUIT BROUGHT AGAINST THE MARICOPA COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT WHICH WANTED TO GIVE INSTATE TUITION TO STUDENTS WHO HAD BEEN BROUGHT TO THE COUNTRY ILLEGALLY AS A CHILDREN. THE COURT ORDER SAYS EXCISTING STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS DO NOT ALLOW THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT TO GRANT IN STATE TUITION TO DACA RECEPIENTS A FULL RULING IS SET TO BE ISSUED IN MAY. JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT THIS IS JOSE PATINO CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR FOR ALIENTO AND ALSO A DACA RECIPIENT. JOSE WELCOME TO HORIZONTE. UNANIMOUS DECISION AGAINST THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT HOW BIG OF A SURPRISE WAS THAT.
Jose Patiño: WE KNEW WERE GOING TO LOSE. I THINK THAT WAS THE INITIAL THOUGHT JUST BECAUSE OF THE MAKEUP. IT’S REALLY A SURPRISE THAT IT WAS UNANIMOUS BECAUSE I THINK THAT STRENGTHENS THE ARGUMENT THE GOVERNOR AND ATTORNEY GENERAL HAS STARTED AN UPROAR IN TERMS OF MCCD SHOULD HAVE NEVER ALLOWED US TO EVER PAY INSTATE TUITION. SO WE FEEL VERY HEAVY. I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW HEART WRENCHING IT IS TALKING TO THE STUDENTS. SPECIFICALLY THOSE IN HIGH SCHOOL WHO ARE JUNIOURS AND ARE THINKING OF GOING TO ASU AND I PUT MYSELF IN THOSE SHOES TEN YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT AND MY WHOLE THING WAS LIKE I PROMISED THAT THIS WASN’T GOING TO HAPPEN AND 10 YEARS LATER IT HAPPENS TO THEM AGAIN. IT IS DIFFICULT.

Jose: WHAT IS ALIENTO’S ROLE IN THIS?

Jose Patiño: SO ALIENTO WORKS PREDOMINANTLY IN MESA AND NORTH PHOENIX WITH DACA STUDENTS AND IMMIGRANT FAMILIES. OUR GOAL IS TO MAKE SURE EVERY STUDENT HAS THE ABILITY TO ATTAIN HIGHER EDUCATION. WE ARE WORKING WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS TO POSSIBLY IF NOT NOW BUT LATER WE CAN EXPLORE AN INITIATIVE BUT ALSO IN THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES TO SEE IF WE CAN DO SOMETHING SIMILAR AS PRESIDENT CROW HAS DONE AT ASU WITH THE TUITION RATE.

Jose: WHAT ARE YOU HEARING FROM THE HIGH SCHOOL KIDS IN PARTICULAR? SOME OF THEM AREN'T EVEN ELIGIBLE NOW FOR DACA; RIGHT? THAT PROGRAM HAS BEEN ENDED AS A PRACTICAL MATTER FOR ANY NEW APPLICANTS.

Jose Patiño: A COUSIN OF MINE IS ACTUALLY 13 YEARS OLD IN EIGHTH GRADE AND HE CAME HERE TO THE COUNTRY AT EIGHT MONTHS OLD. HE IS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR DACA. THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF STUDENTS OUT THERE THAT WHO DIDN’T AGE IN TO THE PROGRAM OR CAME IN AFTER THE DEADLINE. FOR THEM IT IS MORE LIMBO. AT LEAST DACA RECIPIENTS, WE HAVE THIS 100, 000 OVERALL KIND OF FAMILY. BUT WITH THEM IT’S OUTSIDE IN.

Jose: THERE WAS A CONCERN LAST TIME AROUND WHEN PROP 300 PASSED THAT STUDENTS, EVEN THOSE WHO MIGHT BE ABLE TO SCRAPE TOGETHER THEIR MONEY TO GO TO COMMUNITY COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY, WILL JUST GIVE UP. WHAT ARE YOU SENSING RIGHT NOW?

Jose Patiño: I THINK IT IS DIFFICULT BUT WE ARE NEVER GOING TO GIVE UP. I THINK SOMETHING PEOPLE FAIL TO UNDERSTAND IS WHEN STUDENTS, UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS, THEY ARE NOT JUST PURSUING THEIR DREAMS BUT THEY ARE PURSUING THEIR DREAMS OF THEIR MOM AND DAD. THEIR PARENTS LEFT THEIR COUNTRY NOT FOR THEM FOR THEIR CHILDREN SO THEY COULD HAVE A BETTER OPPORTUNITY. REGARDLESS WHATEVER HAPPENS, YOU ARE CARRYING THE HOPES AND DREAMS OF YOUR FAMILY. YOU CAN'T GIVE UP NO MATTER HOW HARD IT IS. WE'LL FIND A WAY. WE DID IT IN WHEN I WENT 2007-2008 AND I AM SURE WITH OUR GUIDANCE WE WILL DO IT AGAIN. IT IS IN OUR DNA.

Jose: YOU MENTIONED THE BALLOT PROPOSITION WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN MIND?
Jose Patiño: IT’S NOW 12 YEARS LATER TO SEE ARIZONA TO RECONSIDER PROP 300. IT IS MY BELIEF THAT ARIZONA VALUES HIGH EDUCATION SPECIFICLLY THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERY STUDENT THAT WANTS TO ATTEND HAS THE ABILITY.

Jose: SO ARE OTHER OPTIONS BEING CONSIDERED ANY FURTHER LEGAL PROCEEDINGS?

Jose Patiño: RIGHT NOW THE ATTORNEYS ARE TELLING US IF WE CONSIDER SOMETHING IT IS GOING TO TAKE A SIDE BACK SEAT TO WHAT’S GOING ON NATIONALLY. SO FOR US THEY RECOMMEND US TO PURSUE THAT. THHEY’RE WAITING TO SEE WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN. THAT’S ANOTHER FEAR THAT WE HAVE THAT ULTIMATELY THE DACA PROGRAM COULD END BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR. THEN ALL OF US WILL BE IN LIMBO IN TERMS OF ALL OF US BEING UNDOCUMENTED AND OUR PERMITS ARE EXPIRING.
Jose: WHAT YOU ARE REFERRING TO IS A COURT CASE THAT IS CHALLENGING PRESIDENT TRUMP'S TERMINATION OF DACA?

Jose Patiño: CORRECT.

Jose: SO WHAT ELSE ARE YOU HEARING FROM THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICTS? WE KNOW THAT THE BOARD OF REGENTS FOR THE UNIVERSITIES HAS ALREADY SAID THEY WILL IMMEDIATLEY IMPLEMENT FOR THE SUMMER SESSION THE COURT'S RULING. WHAT HAS THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT SAID SO FAR?

Jose Patiño: THEY ACTUALLY RELEASED A STATEMENT TODAY SAYING THEY ARE GOING TO LOOK AT THE LEGAL MATTER AND LOOK AT WHAT THEY CAN DO. THEY HAVEN'T STATED ANYTHING PUBLICALLY. OUR STUDENTS AT THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE WANT SOMETHING SIMILAR AS PRESIDENT CROW.

Jose: THE 150%?

YES.

Jose: OFCOURSE ANOTHER SOLUTION AND ULTIMATELY THE REAL SOLUTION IS THE DREAM ACT. HOW MUCH HOPE DO YOU HAVE IN THAT?

Jose Patiño: IT IS DIFFICULT WITH THIS PRESIDENT JUST BECAUSE I ACTUALLY SPENT THREE MONTHS IN D.C. FROM NOVEMBER, DECEMBER AND JANUARY LOBBYING WITH CONGRESS. MY BELIEF IS THE MORE CONGRESS SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES WANT TO GET THIS DONE BUT THEY ARE JUST AFRAID BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT IS SO VOLATILE ON IMMIGRATION. ONE DAY HE CALLS US THAT WE’RE GOOD PEOPLE AND WE DESERVE AN OPPORTUNITY THE NEXT DAY HE ATTACKS US.

Jose: SENDING OUT ON EASTER DACA IS DEAD?

Jose Patiño: YEAH. IT IS REALLY HARD TO HANG YOUR HOPES ON THIS PRESIDENT. I THINK MY BELIEF WAS PREPARED FOR THE WORST, HOPE FOR THE BEST.

Jose: PRESERVATION OF DACA AS YOU INDICATED IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT KEEPS PEOPLE FROM BEING DEPORTED, ENTITLES THEM TO HAVE A JOB LEGALLY AND ALSO A DRIVERS LICENSE. I UNDERSTAND THAT PART OF THE FIGHT. I TAKE IT ANOTHER OPTION IS TO FUNDRAISE TO PAY THE DIFFERENCE IN TUITION THAT THE DECISION RESULTS IN.

Jose Patiño: WITH THE HELP I WAS ABLE TO GET A PRIVATE SCHOLARSHIP. MY HOPE IS THAT UNIVERSITIES AND COMMUNITY COLLEGES ARE ABLE TO HELP US BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO THAT KIND OF MONEY.

Jose: TOUGH SITUATION. ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO TELL US ABOUT WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE COMING MONTHS IN TERMS OF ACTIONS BY ALIENTO OR OTHER STUDENT GROUPS?

Jose Patiño: WE WILL CONTINUE EDUCATING ALLIES. PEOPLE WHO DON'T KNOW WHAT DREAMERS AND DACA RECIPIENTS ARE. OUR BELIEF IS THAT WE ARE IN THIS SITUATION BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T KNOW US, THEY’VE NEVER MET US. THE OTHER THING IS WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO OUR WORKSHOPS EVERY MONTH SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUTH BECAUSE WE KNOW THE TRAUMA IT HAS CAUSED BECAUSSE OF DEPORTATION, DETENTION AND JUST BEING UNDOCUMENTED SPECIFICALLY IN THIS ADMINISTRATION. WE’RE ACTUALLY HOSTING ONE ON APRIL 21ST AT OUR OFFICES. IF THEY CAN GO TO ALIENTOAZ.ORG

Jose: TO GET MORE INFORMATION.
Jose Patiño: YES
Jose: JOSE PATINO THANKS FOR JOINING US ON HORIZONTE.
Jose Patiño: THANK YOU JOSE.
Jose: COMING UP NEXT, LEARN ABOUT AN ORGANIZATION THAT TRANSFORMS RECESS BY TEACHING KIDS HOW TO PLAY AND RESOLVE CONFLICTS TOGETHER.

DACA recipients took a sharp blow as a unanimous decision agreed they are not eligible for in state college tuition, and many organizations are stepping up to help students in any way possible.

Jose Patiño, who is a DACA recipient and works with Aliento, says the loss was no surprise, but he was not expecting to lose to a unanimous vote. Aliento works with DACA students in Mesa and North Phoenix to help them to succeed in higher education.

“There is a significant amount of students out there who didn’t age into the program or who came after the deadline,” Patiño says. “For them it’s more limbo. At least with DACA recipients, we have this 100,000 overall kind of family. They’re sort on the outside looking in.”

Patiño says it’s important that they don’t give up. DACA students aren’t just trying to chase their own dreams, but the dreams of their families as well. Older family members risked everything getting into America to give their children a better opportunity than they had.

“They didn’t leave the country for themselves,” Patiño says. “They left the country for their children so they can have opportunities. Regardless of what happens, you are carrying the hopes and dreams of your family.”

Progress with DACA recipients has taken a backseat, Patiño says. He says it’s been difficult under the direction of the current president. Patiño spent three month lobbying in D.C. He says there are many in Congress who want change, but “they’re just afraid because the president is so against immigration.”

“It’s really hard to hang your hopes with this president,” the DACA recipient says. “My idea is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

In the mean time, Aliento will continue to educate people on who Dreamers are and what DACA means. For more information on the organization visit alientoaz.org.

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Jose Patiño: DACA recipient affiliated with Aliento

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