Wendy Ruiz is American-born and has grown up in Florida her entire life. She graduated high school in 2010 and shortly afterward applied to Florida International University. However, a requirement for her admission was to reveal the immigration status of her parents. Unable to disclose such information, the university automatically rejected her application. Determined to practice her right to an education, Ruiz applied to Miami Dade College. However, once again, Ruiz was asked to state her parents’ immigration status. Once again, she did not disclose. Her acceptance was not revoked but she was asked to pay out-of-state tuition, even though she had lived in Florida her entire life. What exactly does this insinuate?
This act from both institutions (and surely others from around the country) demonstrates a blatant discriminatory act upon immigrants and the children they bear in the United States children. Though of course these institutions would never address their decision to make children of undocumented immigrants pay out-of-state tuition as such, it is evident that there is underlying tension between children of undocumented immigrants in Florida and “all other children Florida-born”.
Wendy Ruiz was denied a privilege given to Florida-born citizens due to something she could not control: the undocumented status of her parents. And though I cannot back up this idea with any evidence, I can’t help but think that perhaps this requirement was an incentive to deter children of undocumented immigrants a right to an education. I am relieved to tell you however, that last week US District Judge K. Michael Moore declared the issue of out-of-state tuition to Florida residents unconstitutional. Though it is fortunate that a judge stepped in on this pressing issue, it raises some red flags on the true intent behind the out-of-state tuition requirements.
The following questions were brought to mind as I pondered this issue
– How many other children of undocumented immigrants have surrendered their right to an education because they were unwilling to risk the chance of their parents’ immigration status being disclosed?
– Doesn’t the United States pride itself on the American Dream? If so, wouldn’t it be in the United States’ best interest to provide all children with the opportunity to a higher education, regardless of their parents’ immigration status?
– What has this meant for these children of undocumented immigrants seeking an education after high school? Have they surrendered their right to an education?
To read the full article on CNN, click here.