Guest Editorial: Arizona Dreamers’ Educations Futures Uncertain. They Shouldn’t Be.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

What a shame.

Across the state, thousands of Arizona public college DACA students are reeling from Monday’s news. Recently, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously ruled that in order for DACA recipients to attend any of the state’s three universities or community colleges they’re going to have to pay a higher tuition.

Unfortunately for many of these Arizona residents, that’s just not possible. They now face having food on the table versus a better future with more education.

Arizona, somewhat understandably, has had a long-standing reputation for its strong stance on illegal immigration and securing the border. However, this court ruling punishes young people through no fault of their own. It would be like a 14-year old son of a shoplifter being named as a co-conspirator.

Under the Deferred Auction for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs, young immigrants that have been brought to the Arizona as children are been able to live and study without the looming fear of deportation.

While DACA students are still able to enroll in Arizona colleges, the financial burden now makes it nearly impossible to actually attend. Many Dreamers are ineligible to apply for financial aid or scholarships, often due to their DACA status. Even with the assistance of campus jobs and student loans, it’s still difficult to make ends meet. The cost of attending college is at an all-time high. By doubling or tripling tuition costs, the dream of attending college may be just that for these students.

Investing in the educational future of our students should be one of our state’s priorities. America is made stronger, economically and culturally, by immigrants and Dreamers are a part of that story. If Arizona truly wants to be a leader in education reform, lawmakers need to seek legislation that invests in the future of ALL of its residents and provide essential resources that help achieve their educational potential. I guess we can dream, can’t we?