Texas students say, “Defend DACA”
Arlington, TX – The University of Texas at Arlington’s Progressive Student Union (PSU) held a rally for DACA recipients, November 14. The group, led by PSU President Mark Napieralski, delivered a list of ten demands to the administration, marching across the campus chanting, “No protection, no peace,” “Stand up, fight back,” “Black and brown immigrants matter,” and “Defend DACA.”
PSU delivered their demands to President Karbhari’s office, though he was available to receive them personally. Regardless, the office received the demands and promised to deliver them to Karbhari.
PSU’s demands included more representation for African Americans. Chicano/Latinos, Native Americans, and other oppressed nationalities in the school’s faculty, as well as a ‘DREAM Center’ on campus for immigrants. The organization believes that these groups are underrepresented at UTA. In addition, they requested more jobs on campus for students, DACA recipients or otherwise, as they believe it is important for all students to have more financial opportunities in order to combat the rising price of tuition at UTA.
The PSU also demanded that the school hire an immigration lawyer in order to ensure legal protection for immigrants, and that UTA should also allocate additional funds for scholarships that would go to students of color and undocumented immigrants who attend the school.
“DACA has been in place since Obama’s presidency, and the fact that the Trump administration is trying to take that away from them is something we are strongly against,” said Napieralski.
Financial aid for immigrants is also an important policy position for PSU, leading them to conclude that UTA should spend more time promoting TASFA, the Texas Application for State Financial Aid, as it is the primary method through which immigrants receive financial aid. TASFA allows foreign students living in Texas to apply for financial aid as a Texas resident.
Ebonee Richards Taylor, a PSU member, weighed in on TASFA, “Immigrant students deserve financial aid just as much as any other student, so promoting TASFA is essential,” she said.
Local news outlets, such as Channel 4 and the Star Telegram recorded the march.
After the protest, PSU members went to their weekly meeting, where they hosted special guest Tom Burke, who talked to them about the state of Venezuela, socialism and American influence in South America. Burke is a national leader of Freedom Road Socialist Organization.