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Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 06:16 PM CDT
(Great guest post from a very brave UT student leader! - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)
Last night, I bared my soul to the University of Texas- Austin's Student Government Assembly. As an undocumented Pakistani resident, my life is filled with fear that few can understand or imagine. But only by showing the world the reality of being undocumented can we cut through the misconceptions and vicious, racist stereotypes to create a dialogue on justice and civil rights.
For weeks, I've planned Undocumented Longhorns Week with the Center for Asian American Studies, Events+Entertainment, the University Leadership Initiative, Asian Pacific Desi American Collective, the Multicultural Engagement Center, and UT student leaders. Oct. 14th to 18th will be filled with events, panels, and workshops on the thorny subject of comprehensive immigration reform, complete with personal stories shared by undocumented UT students that emphasize why we must stand on the right stand of history. Our keynote event is the Undocu-Asian Teach-In.
I shared my story to urge the student assembly to pass AR 16, A Resolution to Support Undocumented Students and Undocumented Longhorns Week which recognizes the groundbreaking work immigrant youth in Texas have done to promote college access and community justice.
UT SG ultimately sent the resolution to the Legislative Affairs Committee, where it will be considered in three parts and a decision will be made on Tuesday, Oct. 15th. I urge you to pressure our student leaders to make the right choice.
Read more on the importance of supporting undocumented Longhorns after the jump.
|UT has a history of supporting our work-whether it's the Law School's Immigration Clinic offering pro-bono aid to DACA applicants or the Longhorns DREAMers project, a venture by the International Students Office that guides undocumented college hopefuls through the tricky process of admissions. All these efforts happened with the leadership of undocumented youth from ULI who actively engage the UT community on the needs of underrepresented students.
Most importantly, passing the resolution would signal that our student leaders recognize the undocumented population on campus and the tireless work they do for 13 million people stuck in the shadows. Many young people run from politicized issues but I hope UT SG upholds the tradition of standing with undocumented students and recognize that this is one of the defining civil rights struggles of the 21st century.
We are at a threshold moment in our country's history, one that holds the fate of millions of Texans and hundreds of past, present, and future Longhorns in the balance. The crisis is at a boiling point and the federal shutdown has only made it worse. Not only is Congress unable to consider the comprehensive immigration reform bill stemming from more than a decade of grassroots pressure, but several key resources for immigrants have disappeared.
Immigration courts will be slower to grant petitions, a website that allows family members of detained immigrants to locate their loved ones has been shut down, and legal resources for immigrants in detention were eliminated. However, deportation and detention services operations are going strong with 1000 people ripped from their families every day. The Department of Homeland Security and the Obama administration are on track to deport 2 million people by December 2013-more than have been sent packing from 1892 to 1997.
But we are not giving up. Yesterday, 8 members of Congress and dozens of community activists, labor leaders, and others were arrested after 15,000 people marched on the National Mall demanding action on immigration reform. And next week, undocumented students and allies will take to UT to convince their peers on why we need their support in this groundbreaking struggle.
The LAC will have an open meeting this Sunday at 8pm in the UT SG Office in the Student Activities Center, Suite 2.102. Public comments can also be directed to the UT SG Administrative Director, Joshua Tang.
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comprehensive immigration reform,