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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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Student advocates march across campus in support of the Texas DREAM Act

Photo by Tim Lai
Photo by Tim Lai

Chanting “Si Se Puede” — “Yes We Can” — and with “Undocumented” printed across their black t-shirts, close to 70 students and supporters marched Wednesday morning across campus to draw attention to a brewing legislative battle over undocumented student fees.
Local DREAM Act advocates marched at 10:30 a.m. from Rudder Plaza to Simpson Drill field to show their determination to keep it a part of Texas’ law. The DREAM Act allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates if they graduated from a Texas high school or received a GED in Texas, and if they sign an affidavit indicating they seek legal residency. The Act was adopted in 2001, but a right-leaning Texas legislature has the Act’s advocates readying to fend off attempts at a repeal.
The marchers held signs stamped with “We have earned it” and “Education, not deportation,” while chanting “Si, se puede” — “Yes, we can,” in Spanish. The march, hosted by the Council for Minority Student Affairs, concluded at Simpson Drill Field with a press conference.
Gabriela Castillo, vice president of CMSA and political science junior, said the march was the first of its kind and intended to bring awareness to the community about participants’ determination to fight the repeal of the DREAM Act.
“We wanted to reach out to the community and let them know that we are aware of these proposed legislations, willing to fight them, and willing to go far out of our comfort zone to do so,” Castillo said. “We want them to know that we are keeping a watchful eye on Texas legislation.”
The efforts to repeal the DREAM Act center around House Bill 360, filed in November by Republican Rep. Mark Keough, which would effectively kill the DREAM Act by by requiring applicants for in-state tuition to be citizens at the time of application.
Roxann Lerma, CMSA public relations representative and biochemistry senior, said the march was scheduled at an ideal time to combat efforts to repeal the DREAM Act.
“We knew these bills were about to start rolling,” Lerma said. “We wanted to make our statement at the right time.”
Castillo said the march also intended to advocate for DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, which was recently ruled unconstitutional by U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen.
DAPA is a form of immigrant relief that essentially extends DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, to include eligible parents of U.S. citizens. To qualify, the individual must have been physically present in the U.S. since Jan. 1, 2010 and have a child who was born on or before Nov. 20, 2014.
Castillo said the march was successful and received a lot of attention.
“People saw us and were cheering us on. Some even joined in to march with us,” Castillo said. “It was refreshing and powerful.”
Lerma said one of her hopes for this event, which was named the National Day of Action, is that it will encourage other universities to show the same passion for advocating undocumented citizens.
“What we want is for other universities to start marching like this as well,” Lerma said. “Universities like the University of Texas and the University of Texas Pan-American – we want them to join us in the fight.”

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  • Photo by Tim Lai

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