Students react to new requirement to verify citizenship

Amid protests and even the arrest of two IU students, a bill prohibiting in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants in Indiana was signed into law May 10.

As the law takes effect this month, IU students will soon have to verify their citizenship, University officials recently announced.

An email sent by the Office of the Registrar alerted students of the change.

“While there is no action required by you at this time, we felt it important to share this information so that students who might be negatively affected by this legislation would have time to assess their situation and seek advice/alternatives,” the email said.

Previously, to qualify for in-state tuition, IU only required students to reside in Indiana for 12 months. With the new law, students must be documented citizens of the United States. Those who cannot verify their citizenship will have to pay nonresident tuition and will be ineligible for scholarships, grants and any other aid funded by the University.

Students who are U.S. citizens will be unaffected, as will foreign nationals with valid visas or immigration statuses.

Junior Alicia Nieves said the content of the email is disheartening. Nieves is coordinator for DREAM IU, a campus group that campaigned last year on behalf of the DREAM Act.  The act, which did not pass, would have allowed undocumented aliens the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency if they complete two years of military service or college.

“We knew this was coming, but it’s still disappointing,” Nieves said. “As a public university, IU has to comply, despite how unfair the law is. We recognize that.”

Nieves added that she hopes all of the students who received the email would take time to recognize its importance before the message gets lost in their inboxes.

“It’s significant,” she said. “This is a law that will directly affect your classmates. Even though they won’t be kicked out of IU, they will be ‘de facto’ kicked out.”

Read the rest of this story at the Indiana Daily Student.