At a time when members of our undocumented communities are grappling with fear and uncertainty, the California Community Colleges has launched a number of initiatives to reassure everyone that our campuses will remain safe, welcoming places for people from all backgrounds to learn.California’s community colleges embrace diversity in all forms. We believe all people have the right to access quality higher education. College-bound undocumented students are courageous, resilient and resourceful. They often work to pay for school and help their families. Many have lived in California for most of their life and have attended elementary, middle or high school in the United States.
That’s why the California Community Colleges is proud to offer numerous services and protections to undocumented students, including up to 70,000 enrolled in our community colleges, who are protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. That’s why our colleges will not release personally identifiable student information related to immigration status unless required by judicial order. That’s why the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges has encouraged local districts to consider the system’s values when creating policies and practices related to undocumented students. And that’s why so many of our campuses have created Dreamer Resource Centers and hosted “know your rights” clinics.
It is vital that undocumented residents of California know their rights. For example, Assembly Bill 540 created a new exemption from the payment of out-of-state tuition for students who have attended a high school in California for three years and have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. The legislation was critical because without it, undocumented students attending a California community college would be paying thousands of dollars in tuition each year as non-residents or international students.
California is home to an estimated 2.5 million undocumented immigrants, and protecting our undocumented communities not only is the right thing to do, it is the economically wise thing to do. DACA recipients will contribute $460 billion to the U.S. economy in the next decade.
The California Community Colleges remains committed to standing with DACA recipients and other undocumented immigrants and providing them with educational opportunities.