On Sunday night, the Undergraduate Assembly voted 27 in favor and two against on a resolution to send a letter to state government officials supporting aspects of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act that pertain to students.
The DREAM Act, if passed, would allow children born abroad who are not U.S. citizens or legal residents to attend college or join the military and eventually be granted U.S. citizenship if they have grown up in the United States. Currently, undocumented immigrants violate civil laws by entering the country illegally or overstaying visas.
The UA debated the resolution last week, but voted to table the discussion for one week because members felt that not enough of them had read the legislation. They also were unsure of whether the UA should take a stance on political issues, and several members suggested the letter be redacted to only focus on certain points of the act that they felt pertained to the role of the UA.
In response, the letter was “much de-politicized,” said MEChA President and College junior Rosie Brown, a co-author of the resolution. Parts of the act relating to the military, for example, were cut, and the introduction was reworded to state that the UA supports “the removal of barriers to higher education” and not necessarily the entire act itself.
“This is not a political issue,” Brown said. “This is a diversity issue.”
She said MEChA came to the UA about drafting this letter because the group knows “the UA supports diversity and tolerance,” and that having undocumented students at Penn brings “different life experiences into the dorm room and into classroom conversations.”
Brown hopes Penn’s student government can set a precedent for the student governments of peer schools. She cited seven other student governments that have passed similar resolutions, none of which were in the Ivy League.
UA President and College senior Matt Amalfitano said the letter was “emphasizing what’s most important to the Penn experience” and that he was “100-percent behind this resolution.”
The letter will be mailed immediately to U.S. senators Robert Casey and Arlen Specter, Senator-elect Pat Toomey and Rep. Chaka Fattah.Comments powered by Disqus
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