Participants of a recent student panel at Texas A&M University titled, Meet an Aggie Dreamer, were given the opportunity to learn about the issues faced by undocumented immigrant students at the university. Organized by the A&M Council for Minority Student Affairs (CMSA) and first held in 2011, the panel saw students give their firsthand accounts of their struggles and the effects of their immigration status on their education. After the panelists shared their experiences, audience members were given the chance to ask questions and dig deeper into the challenges faced by undocumented students.
Roots Embedded in the DREAM Act
Reintroduced in the Senate in 2011 and later enacted into law by the Obama administration that same year, the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors” Act, or the DREAM Act, was designed to provide protection against deportation to individuals 16 –years-old and below, who had not committed a criminal offense and had been residing in the United States for at least 5 years.
Individuals eligible for protection under the initiative would later come to be known as DREAMers.
According to CMSA president Melanie Garza, although the local immigrant community at A&M hasn’t been the target of any recent attacks, the degree of discourse at the national level in politics has placed the immigration community in the spotlight. With presidential candidates vying for their respective party’s nomination, US immigration laws have been placed under a magnifying glass, with some calling for tighter restrictions, and others asking for fairer treatment to undocumented immigrants.
Garza noted a decline in the number of people wanting to step out and get involved with the immigrant community and learn about the issues they face, which is what prompted CMSA to bring back Meet an Aggie Dreamer. She added the event was about raising awareness of the struggles faced by undocumented students in contrast to the challenges faced by others. Most importantly, Garza emphasized the event was not about politics, but about an important humanitarian problem.
Changing Misconceptions About Undocumented Students
CMSA secretary and international studies major, Brenda Vazquez, said the organization wanted to show as much variety in perspective on the panel, in order to show as many sides to the issue as possible; the panel was composed of freshmen as well as graduating students. Vazquez, a DREAMer herself, pointed out how many people have misconceptions on undocumented immigrants, particularly the unique struggles they face. With this event, she hopes they can change people’s minds and put real faces at the forefront of the issue.
Cinthia Cruz, a business major on the panel, was born in Mexico and arrived in the United States when she was 10-years-old. She hopes that her story motivated people facing similar situations and struggles to remember that the A&M community is there for everyone, regardless of their backgrounds.
If you or anyone you know is an undocumented immigrant facing these problems, get legal assistance from Lyttle Law Firm today. Learn about your rights by calling our offices at 512-215-5225 or by visiting our website.