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University of Texas at San Antonio Opens On Campus DACA Center

This university provides more for its Dreamers.

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The Trump Administration announced the end of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) last year, the program that allows children who came to the U.S. as undocumented immigrants, to remain in the country legally.

Like other university leaders, Taylor Eighmy, president of the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) released an official statement declaring the school’s commitment to protecting their students’ privacy, rights and chance at a quality education.

Eighmy declared the importance of appreciating all perspectives, valuing diversity and recognizing each Dreamer’s commitment to earning an education.

“We have Dreamers on our campus. Their presence here is a testament to their fortitude, resilience and their own specific contributions to our familia.”

But unlike other University leaders, Eighmy has acted on his words.

UTSA launched their Dreamers Resource Center website last October to help support the growing needs of its DACA and other undocumented students. The website includes information on finding offices and officials who can assist with questions regarding residency, financial aid and scholarships, counseling, admissions and more.

This week, UTSA went a step further, officially opening a Dreamers Center as physical counterpart to the website. Originally planned to open in early February, Eighmy decided to accelerate the center’s launch in order to provide faster service to the UTSA community.

Officials plan to have the center partner with a local nonprofit, The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services to provide referrals, educational programming, and peer mentoring. The university’s faculty and staff will also collaborate to create a campus-wide referral network for Dreamers.

Most Texas universities — besides  Texas Tech University — do not currently provide anything beyond online resources for Dreamers and allies. UTSA has taken a more aggressive approach.

“We must do everything we can to ensure they have the right resources and information in the months to come.”

With the operation of the Federal Government seemingly hinging on a DACA decision, UTSA may be setting a groundbreaking example in higher education.

Dani Matias is a student at the University of Texas. She is working toward a Bachelor's degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish. She is an active member of Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc., NABJ and NAHJ.

Academics

Inside the Ivy: New Presidents and Immigration

The one with Harvard, new presidents and immigration reform panels.

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Harvard finally names a new president

Harvard University has hired one of its own as the 29th university president, Lawrence Bacow.

The Harvard Crimson reports, “Bacow, 66, formerly served as the president of Tufts University and the chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has also held roles at the Kennedy School, the Graduate School of Education, the Law School—and, most recently, on Harvard’s own search committee.”

Bacow will be taking over at a precarious time for higher education and Harvard; he will face a presidency that goes against university ideals and has enacted tax policies that will cost the university millions, an underperforming endowment and the roll out of Harvard’s controversial policy that penalizes membership in single-gender social organizations.

Jeb Bush and Joe Biden at Penn’s Silfen Forum

The Daily Pennsylvanian reports, “Members of the Senate failed to advance any immigration laws on Feb. 15, leaving the fate of various U.S. immigrants in an ongoing state of limbo. News of the vote came in as hundreds of attendees sat in Irvine Auditorium, listening to former Vice President Joe Biden and former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush discuss immigration policy with Penn President Amy Gutmann.”

The event, “Policy Adrift: A 21st Century Framework for Asylum Seekers, Refugee’s and Immigration Policy,” was part of an annual series of panel discussions on modern issues.

Conversation on the panel quickly shifted to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Randoms:

A little bit of hope for a tough week and love for Valentine’s Day

Princeton has its own dating app

Quote of the Week:

“#MeToo is just so simple. It is really just a conversation starter. Or, [it can be] the whole conversation. This is a movement that’s about healing. [The phrase] comes from a place of trying to connect.

– Tarana Burke, #MeToo movement founder and leader at Brown University

Tweet of the Week

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DACA

Government Shutdown Over After President Trump Signs Budget Deal

President Donald Trump signed a major budget deal early this morning, signaling the end of the brief government shutdown.

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Early Friday morning President Donald Trump signed a major budget deal that lawmakers had been negotiating for months. This move came hours after Congress voted to end the last, brief government shutdown overnight, according to CNN.

“Our Military will now be stronger than ever before. We love and need our Military and gave them everything — and more,” said Trump in an early morning tweet.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul had prevented the deal from passing Thursday, sending the government into a brief shutdown. The deal includes about $300 billion in additional funds over two years for military and nonmilitary programs, almost $90 billion in disaster relief in response to last year’s hurricanes and wildfires, and a higher statutory debt ceiling.

The House of Representatives voted 240-186 on the bill, with 73 Democratic House members voting for the bill, and 67 House Republicans voting against it.  

Sen. Rand Paul was angered at the huge spending increases at the center of the accord, and delayed passage for hours with a demand to vote on an amendment that would have kept in place the strict caps on spending that the deal raises.

“The reason I’m here tonight is to put people on the spot,” Paul said Thursday night. “I want people to feel uncomfortable. I want them to have to answer people at home who said, ‘How come you were against President Obama’s deficits and then how come you’re for Republican deficits?’”

The bill keeps the government running until late March, and included in the funding is $10 billion to invest in infrastructure, $2.9 billion for child care and $3 billion to combat opioid and substance abuse.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, criticized Paul on Twitter. “It appears ‘General’ @RandPaul is at it again. He just called for the immediate withdrawal of all forces from Afghanistan as a way to give the US military a pay raise,” Graham tweeted. “Fortunately, only ‘General’ Paul — and the Taliban – think that’s a good idea.”

The deal should pave the way for a measure of stability through September 2019 after months of lurching from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis, according to The New York Times. The Times also reported that President Trump would get to boast of a huge increase in military spending, long promised, but his desire to more broadly reorder the government with deep cuts to programs like environmental protection, health research, and foreign aid seemed to be dead for now — as was any semblance of fiscal austerity.

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Budget Deal to End Months of Partisan Fights

Budgin’.

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Congress is set to vote today on a new proposed compromise budget allocating over $500 billion to federal spending, according to The Washington Post. If the plan wins, it would settle months of wrangling between Republicans and Democrats by adding more to the federal deficit, ending the need for short-term agreements.

The proposal came after House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) gave an eight hour speech about DACA and the “dreamers” yesterday. Pelosi also broke a modern record for the longest continuous House floor speech. Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was eager to secure military funding, ensuring that the new budget could incorporate DACA if the military spending cap was raised. The deal also includes new funding for several items supported by both parties, including infrastructure and transportation, according to The Post.

According to CNN, the proposal is likely to pass, perhaps with some hold-up from House Dems like Pelosi who have expressed concerns over immigration. The budget would need to be finalized tonight before another shutdown.

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