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Undocumented UT Grads Call for Permanent Immigration Solution

Ann Choi for KUT News

A UT student organization held a ceremony today for undocumented students who will graduate with their peers this weekend.

Last year, undocumented students became eligible to apply for a two year-long work permit that would protect them from deportation through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. However, the undocumented graduates said the policy protects only the students –not their families – and therefore, it’s not a permanent solution.

“DACA has been really important. It essentially helped keep my family in this country,” said Ainee Athar, graduating with a degree in anthropology. “At the same time, it can’t help keep us here forever. My parents have been waiting for their citizenship for almost 20 years. We need some kind of relief, as soon as possible through comprehensive immigration reform."

Arthar said her family, who moved from Pakistan, had been given an order to deport after having been in U.S. for 20 years. The family was able to say because Athar and her sister were granted a temporary DACA permit.

Daniela Galvan, a graduating senior who immigrated from Mexico, said that in addition to worrying about her grades and career, she worries for the safety of her parents who don’t have a driver's license or social security card. 

"[My parents] came here to give me a better education and like any other parents would. They are not criminals. They should not be punished like one," Galvan said. 

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