Georgia State Merger and Undocumented Students
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia has approved the merger of Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College to form the biggest university in Georgia with about 54,000 students. Somehow, immigration has become an odd hot topic of this merger. President Becker of Georgia State University has stated that the perimeter campuses of GPC will remain some sort of satellite campuses for Georgia State and would serve mainly as the place for people to obtain their 2-year associate programs. The Downtown campus will remain the flagship campus for Bachelor’s, Masters and Doctoral degrees. But there’s one topic, among many, that has the immigrant community of Georgia really worried: will the Regent’s ban expand to perimeter campuses of Georgia State University?
In 2010 the Board of Regents agreed to ban undocumented students from attending five Universities in Georgia: (University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Georgia College & State University and Georgia Regents University). Their rationale was that it would not be fair for other “lawful” residents of Georgia that have worked hard and deserve to be at these colleges, to be denied admission because they had to admit undocumented students into their tax-dollar funded universities instead.
Georgia Perimeter College is home to many DACA beneficiaries and it has served as the only opportunity for higher education in many cases. Immigration advocacy groups have criticized the Board of Regents’ ban extensively because it closes the doors of education to thousands of qualified young students. The Executive Vice President of the Student Government Association of Georgia State University, Sebastian Parra, will serve as one of three student representatives on the merger committee on behalf of GSU. Sebastian, a Colombian immigrant himself has stated:
“This is a huge problem because students that grew up in Georgia and have done everything right are being denied of higher education, it also sends a message to the younger ones to not even try to be good at school since they won’t be allowed to go to an University anyways” – Sebastian Parra, GSU
The uncertainty is worrisome, most likely, if GPC is merged to become the new “Georgia State University” then surely the ban will apply to the perimeter campuses which would leave hundreds of undocumented students without higher educational opportunities. Immigration Attorney Amna Shirazi from the Atlanta-based Shirazi Law Group, Inc adds:
“Georgia needs to be more welcoming to immigrants if it really wants to be the best place to raise a family, undocumented families want to send their kids to college and this ban makes it impossible for them”. – Amna Shirazi
The Shirazi Law Group will always be a friend of all Georgia Immigrants. We have personally helped hundred of young people be protected from deportation by helping them obtain DACA and their work authorization cards. We certainly hope for the best even if the near future seems so grim for undocumented students.