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Arizona Colleges Concerned About New Immigration Law

May 4, 2010

arizona mapCollege officials are expressing concern that a new Arizona immigration law will discourage some students from attending schools in the state.

The new law, SB 1070, was signed last week by Governor Jan Brewer, and it requires police to ask for evidence of one's legal status if they suspect that a person is in the country illegally. Arizona college officials worry that the legislation will lead to racial profiling and will ultimately discourage Hispanic and international students from attending.

"We have already begun to feel an impact from SB1070," writes Robert N. Shelton, president of the University of Arizona, in a letter to the campus community. "The families of a number of out-of-state students (to date all of them honors students) have told us that they are changing their plans and will be sending their children to universities in other states. This should sadden anyone who cares about attracting the best and brightest students to Arizona."

Similarly, the Arizona Republic reports that officials at Maricopa Community Colleges worry that the law will negatively affect undocumented students who were brought to the country illegally as children. Last week, MCC Chancellor Rufus Glasper noted that the legislation will likely deter undocumented students from attending college, which would negatively impact the state's economy.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that officials at Arizona State University announced that admission officers will be emphasizing that the school is a "warm and welcoming place for people of all races and ethnicities, as well as international students." Elizabeth D. Capaldi, ASU's provost, said in statement that while the law has raised concern on campus, the college remains committed to diversity and university policies are not expected to change.

"We will ensure that the new law not be misinterpreted or misapplied," she said.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Regents, which oversees the three state universities, is seeking legal advice to clarify the law's implications. It is unclear, for example, if campus police will be required to turn over undocumented students for possible deportation.

"We've got to find out how much of the law applies to the students we serve," noted Ernest Calderon, Regents president, who was quoted in the Arizona Republic.


Compiled by Yaffa Klugerman

Sources:

"Arizona College Officials Worry About Effects of New Immigration Law," The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 30, 2010, Andrea Fuller

"Colleges Raising Concerns Over Arizona's Immigration Law," The Arizona Republic, May 4, 2010, Anne Ryman

"SB 1070--Arizona's New Immigration Law," letter from University of Arizona President Robert N. Shelton, April 29, 2010

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