Here’s what life is like when you’re undocumented…
At 16, you’re supposed to drive. You’re supposed to be able to get a job. You’re supposed to work toward college. But when you’re undocumented, all these things become impossible.
This young woman was rejected from every college she applied to because of her status – until finally she was accepted by one. Given this newfound opportunity, she slayed and graduated.
But it wasn’t just her graduating because when an immigrant graduates, or the child of an immigrant graduates, the entire family walks down that stage. It’s a victory for everyone. It’s reassurance that every sacrifice you and / or your parents made; leaving your country, your job, your life, being called all those names… All those moments were validated.
Here’s what her dad said weeks leading up to her graduation:
“Para mí, va a ser el premio mayor. Va a ser algo por lo cual yo trabajé. Mi esposa a mi lado siempre trabajando y va a ser la graduación de nosotros… Va a ser lo máximo para mí.”
According to the Pew Research Center, there are roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants that reside in the U.S. as of 2016, which includes about 700,000 people under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In total, the group represents 3.4 percent of the country’s total population. Undocumented students are a subset of this group and face various roadblocks due to their legal status, including obstacles that prevent them from receiving equal educational opportunities as U.S. citizens and legal U.S. residents.
Most universities don’t offer in-state tuition to undocumented students and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) is not available for undocumented students either. For those who live in states that don’t offer in-state tuition, it means taking on huge loans and working multiple jobs to pay for tuition, or sometimes, foregoing college altogether.
Yet, there are a handful of states in the U.S. that are doing their part to help undocumented students receive some sort of financial assistance. Whether that’s legislation extending in-state tuition rates to undocumented students who meet specific requirements or receiving state financial aid, there is help.
The following U.S. states allow undocumented students to receive state financial aid.
In California, there were 200,150 students that were participating in the DACA program as of August 2018, according to the Migration Policy Institute. This means that many of those students received some kind of financial assistance when it came to their education. State law (AB 540, AB 130, and AB 131) provides undocumented students with in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid. There are 23 campus options for the California State University system and 9 campus options of the University of California (UC).
The average cost of in-state tuition and fees: $9,680
2. New Mexico
New Mexico is doing it’s part when it comes to helping undocumented students pursue higher education. The state offers in-state tuition and financial aid to undocumented students through SB 582. The state also has one of the lowest costs when it comes to in-state tuition and fees.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $6,920
Back in April 2013, Oregon adopted a state policy, HB 2787, granting in-state tuition to undocumented students. This has opened up countless opportunities for many who are pursuing college.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $10,360
Minnesota offers in-state tuition and state financial aid to undocumented students through the MN Dream Act. This includes over two dozen colleges and universities offer in-state tuition to all students, regardless of status, residence, or MN Dream Act eligibility.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $11,300
The Lone-Star State is certainly the biggest state in the country and is also one a huge resource when it comes to assisting aspiring colleges students. In Texas, undocumented students may qualify for Texas State Financial Aid. The state in 2001 became the first in the nation to allow undocumented immigrant students to pay in-state tuition to public universities. They only need to have lived in Texas for the three years before they graduated from high school.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $9,840
Undocumented students are eligible to receive in-state tuition as of 2003 via HB 1079. In 2014, the state also enacted the Washington State DREAM Act into law, making undocumented students eligible for state financial aid.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $9,480
7. New Jersey
In 2013, New Jersey gave in-state tuition benefits to undocumented immigrants. Last year, undocumented students were finally able to apply for state financial aid after Gov. Phil Murphy signed bill NJ S 699 (18R) opening up state funds for undocumented immigrants going to college.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $13,870
The following states allow for in-state tuition rates for undocumented students
(This includes the previous 6 mentioned states that allow undocumented students to receive state financial aid)
In 2013, state lawmakers in Colorado created SB 13-033 which allows undocumented children to follow their American dreams. They allowed them to pay the significantly cheaper in-state tuition to go to state colleges instead of higher out-of-state prices.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $10,800
In 2011, the Connecticut General Assembly approved a law which offers undocumented students residing in Connecticut in-state tuition benefits at the state’s public colleges. HB 8644 not only allows for undocumented students to pay in-state tuition for college, but it also states that students only have to attend two years of high school in the state to be eligible.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $12,390
Former Gov. Rick Scott signed HB 851 into law in 2014. The measure allows undocumented students who spent three consecutive years in a Florida high school and applied to an educational institution within 24 months of graduating to apply for and out-of-state tuition waiver.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $6,360
Undocumented students in Illinois are eligible for in-state tuition and private scholarships through Public Act 093-007 (In-State Tuition) and SB 2185 (Illinois DREAM Act). Students can also access the state’s Monetary Award Program, aka MAP grants.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $13,620
In 2018, HB 2145 gave undocumented students in Kansas access to in-state tuition. To qualify, students must have attended a Kansas high school for three or more years.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $9,230
In Maryland, things are a bit different compared to other states when it comes to financial assistance. Undocumented students are eligible for in-state tuition under SB 167, however, they must attend a community college before qualifying for in-state tuition at a public university.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $9,580
The state has provided in-state tuition to undocumented students for the last 13 years. LB 239 states that undocumented students must have attended high school for at least three years before graduating high school or receiving a GED.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $8,270
Utah gave undocumented students access to in-state tuition back in 2002. HB 144 states that people are eligible for in-state tuition if they attend high school in Utah for three or more years and must file or be willing to file when able an application for residency.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $6,790
9. New York
Through the Dream Act, undocumented students who meet the Tuition Assistance Program requirements, currently received access to state financial aid. Previously, New York had allowed all high school students who graduated from a New York high school an opportunity to receive in-state tuition at two local colleges, City University of New York (CUNY) and the State University of New York (SUNY).
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $7,940
HB 1804 made it possible for undocumented students in the state can receive in-state tuition if they graduated from a private or public Oklahoma high school and were accepted to a school in Oklahoma’s state university system.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $8,460
11. Rhode Island
While it might be the smallest state in the country, it’s still doing its part to help undocumented college students by offering in-state tuition. The Board of Governors for Higher Education voted unanimously to give undocumented students in-state tuition if they graduated from a Rhode Island high school and sign an affidavit saying they will apply for legal residency when eligible.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $12,230
Virginia still has work to do but, currently, students on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are eligible for in-state tuition. However, there are people fighting to expand that benefit to all undocumented residents of the state.
The average 2017-18 cost of in-state tuition and fees: $12,820
Another day, another racist video uploaded to the Internet. In the latest bigoted clip to go viral, two young white women from Illinois chant about how much they hate Black people and call for the return of slavery.
On Saturday, Springfield, Illinois, resident Gabbi Goldsborough posted a video on Facebook of friends Macy Castleman and Jayde Landers going on a wild rant about their deep hatred toward Black people. The 10-second clip, a screengrab of another video posted August 9 or 10 on Snapchat by user Sam Stieren, shows the women outdoors calling for a return to the times when Black folk were not considered human and were enslaved and brutalized.
“We hate n*****s,” the pair say in unison.
Castleman, who appears in the video wearing a dark-color hoodie, added: “They smell. They don’t work. So we should bring back slavery to whip them n*****s. Bring back the KKK! Wooooo!”
Landers, who is seen in a light-color sweatshirt, then says, “Shh. People like Black people sometimes.”
The video, as can be expected, has validly angered many on the Internet.
“Love how people sit around and act like racism isn’t still a thing. Macy Castleman and Jayde Landers, you have a lot of explaining to do,” Goldsborough writes in her video post on Facebook. “You can say it’s an inside joke or think it’s funny, but it’s not.”
Along with the clip, the young woman, who is biracial, also published private chats she had with Castleman, which shows her unapologetic about video and calling it a joke that she doesn’t have much recollection of.
“That was like three years ago and, if I’m being honest, I don’t remember that at all,” Castleman responds when Goldsborough inquires about the contents of the video through a Snapchat message.
After Goldsborough calls it “fucked up,” Castleman gets defensive.
“I have Black people in my family. Clearly, I don’t feel that way … so you can chill. Also, it was an inside joke with my best friend. But feel however you want about it,” she says.
While the video’s timestamp shows it was posted last week, it could have been recorded previously and added to Snapchat as a “throwback” or “memory” more recently.
In her post, Goldsborough points out that the timing of the recording is nonessential; what the young women say in the video is what’s damning.
“Honestly, I don’t care when you said it. I don’t care if you said it five years ago. The N-word still came out of your mouth, and there’s no excuse. Period. On behalf of my Black side, we’re hurt and so disappointed people still think and believe this,” she said, adding that if Castleman’s claims of having Black relatives are true, they would be really disappointed in her.
In addition to the public outcry, both Castleman and Landers are beginning to also face real-life repercussions for their racist rant.
Castleman, who is seen in the video yelling most of the vile commentary, has been fired from her job at an assisted living facility. On Facebook, the Concordia Village and Lutheran Senior Services addressed the video and their former employee’s involvement twice.
In a post made on Monday, they announce that Castleman was dismissed.
“A disturbing video posted on a personal social media account by a former employee over the weekend has come to our attention. We are disappointed by the personal views expressed by this former employee and regret the adverse attention it has brought upon our community. We have addressed the situation with the employee according to our personnel policies and that individual is no longer employed by Concordia Village or Lutheran Senior Services,” they wrote.
When commenters asked if the company had fired Castleman, they responded that they had.
Both institutions where the women attend, or were previously registered in, have also commented on the videos.
Auburn High School, where Sanders is a senior, made a brief statement on its Twitter account.
“The behavior of the two individuals in the video does not represent the views of our school or our community – what we teach or how we act in our school. There are policies and procedures in place, which will be followed for any students involved,” the school noted in the statement made on Sunday.
One community member, Eileen P McLaughlin, isn’t satisfied. She suggested that the teen be suspended or expelled, noting that not giving the young woman consequences to her actions would leave a “dark stain on your school.”
The Auburn Community Unit School District #10 said it has started an investigation into the video but indicated that the process has been difficult because the video was released publically while school is still on summer break.
Similarly, Lincoln Land Community College, the school where Castleman was enrolled as a nursing student, posted a statement on Sunday to their Facebook.
“In light of a situation brought to the attention of the college administration, I would like to assure our community that Lincoln Land Community College is committed to maintaining a learning and working environment that is free from all forms of harassment and discrimination,” President Dr. Charlotte Warren on Sunday. “LLCC values diversity. We respect and celebrate the differences among people, cultures and ideas. We recognize the inherent dignity and worth of everyone throughout the college community. We promote a safe and inclusive environment for all.”
Warren added: “… If this situation involved a current student at LLCC, then it would be investigated and adjudicated per the policies and procedures of the College.”
Both Castleman and Landers have either set their social media to private or deactivated their accounts.