'Disappointed in the state of Arizona': DACA students hold press conference after Supreme Court decision

Students spoke against the Supreme Court of Arizona's decision that DACA students are ineligible for in-state tuition

Hours after the Supreme Court of Arizona ruled that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients are ineligible for in-state tuition, DACA students and allies stood in front of the Arizona State Capitol and told their stories.

The Court's decision upheld a unanimous Arizona Court of Appeals ruling to bar DACA students from in-state tuition.

Edder Diaz Martinez, a journalism senior and DACA recipient, spoke first. Martinez is one month away from graduation, a dream he says couldn't have been realized without in-state tuition eligibility.

Now, Martinez is looking forward to the DACA students who are just now beginning their college lives.

"What this decision means is that the education of these students are on hold," Martinez said. "Their dreams, their hopes, their aspirations are now derailed because of this decision."

The press conference was mostly focused on the stories of the DACA recipients rather than the next steps they're taking in the fight for in-state tuition. 

For DACA recipients like Reyna Montoya, an ASU alumna, the conference was about "collecting emotions." She said that when she heard about the verdict, she immediately thought of her younger brother, who is a sophomore at ASU.

ASU President Michael Crow issued a statement to The State Press emphasizing that the court decision "does nothing to alter (the University's) steadfast commitment to making higher education a reality for all Arizona high school graduates, including those who have DACA status."

“The university is currently looking into all options to assist Arizona high school graduates who are qualified to be in the U.S. under DACA with an uninterrupted educational journey beyond high school," Crow said in the statement. "As noted by (the Arizona Board of Regents), eligible DACA students can take advantage of the Non-Resident Tuition Rate for Arizona High School Graduates."

The court case was heard on April 2, and the decision came exactly one week later.

"I don't think we expected it to happen so soon," said Belen Sisa, a political science senior and DACA recipient. "It's crazy to think that they already came to such a quick decision and decided to rule against us."

Sisa said she feels "incredibly disappointed in the state of Arizona" after the decision.

"We shouldn’t be attacked by the only place we call home and the only public education system we’ve ever known," Sisa said.

DACA advocacy groups such as Undocumented Students for Education Equity and United We Dream were present at the press conference and said they're planning actions to push back against the decision in the next week.


Reach the reporters at flatifi@asu.edu and cmgiulia@asu.edu or follow @fortesalatifi and @tinamaria_4 on Twitter. 

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