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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Council for Minority Student Affairs celebrates executive orders

Members of the Council for Minority Student Affairs were in good spirits as they gathered on Thursday evening to watch a screening of President Barack Obama’s immigration address.
President Obama’s address granted undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for at least five years, have children who are American citizens, pass a criminal background check and are willing to pay their taxes the opportunity to apply to stay in the country temporarily. For the CMSA, an organization that advocates for the rights of undocumented immigrants, this was a success. However, members still intend to push for a more inclusive executive action.
Gabriela Castillo, vice president of CMSA and political science junior, told the members present at the screening to celebrate their small success but to continue to work toward the goal of a comprehensive immigration reform.
“It is known that part of our community will be excluded from the benefits,” Castillo said. “But we will stand by those people and will keep fighting until full justice is done.”
Roxann Lerma, public relations officer for CMSA and biochemistry senior, said the organization will promote this goal by spreading awareness of the issue of immigration to local residents.
“Our biggest concern is to help the community understand the issue at hand,” Lerma said. “Most of them speak Spanish but they don’t understand legal terms like the ones in President Obama’s address. This is why we have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to help people understand the issue and to help undocumented students succeed in society.”
Alfredo Garcia, philosophy and economics senior, said before President Obama’s address, he did not have many options for his future because he is an undocumented immigrant, even though he graduated salutatorian in high school and intends to apply for graduate school.
“It’s a huge change,” Garcia said. “Now I’ll be able to qualify for the program and continue studying, which I believe I deserve, despite the fact that I’m an immigrant.”
Garcia said although President Obama’s address has granted him benefits, his parents still do not qualify for the same benefits, so he intends to continue to be a part of the effort to encourage comprehensive immigration reform.
“We shouldn’t be considered different people because of our skin color,” Garcia said. “We want to be recognized and be able to contribute, and use our careers to help society. We deserve that chance too.”
Angie Martinez, external affairs officer for CMSA and health senior, said the organization also informs local English as a Second Language students at Bryan High School about higher education.
“Many of them don’t know the opportunities that they have,” Martinez said. “One of our main efforts is to inform them and their parents about higher education and how to apply for financial aid.”

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