In an effort to expedite and further comprehensive immigration reform efforts, UAW 2865, the Union for Teaching Assistants, Tutors and Readers at the University of California, is fighting for equal academic and professional opportunities for undocumented students. UAW 2865 recognizes that the University of California has previously supported undocumented students by encouraging undocumented students to pursue a higher education. However, the pursuit of a higher education should not be limited to the application process; rather, appropriate support and funding should be a component of the University of California system to ensure equitable policies and access. Present policies prohibit undocumented students from being Teaching Assistants, Tutors and Readers, subsequently limiting undocumented students from being able to accept financial aid opportunities and/or the ability to pursue certain academic disciplines that require such academic experience as a component of their respective degree requirements.
There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States (1). Of the 11 million, only 1.76 million will benefit from (DACA) initiative and 25 percent of DACA applicants are still in review (2). Evidently, DACA disenfranchises the vast majority of undocumented immigrants.
Specific to the undocumented academic pipeline, the most recent data indicates that approximately 500,000 undocumented students are academically prepared to attend college and only a fraction of a percent go on to pursue a graduate education (3). Yet, undocumented graduate and undergraduate students are students at the University of California. On July 9, 2013, the UAW 2865 Bargaining Committee, in conjunction with concerned and impacted graduate students, offered to work in collaboration with the University of California office of labor relations to resolve the issue and actualize the mission of the University. Though the University has expressed interest in “looking into the issue” and are “intrigued” by our proposal, the University of California has not responded to the bargaining information request concerning undocumented graduate students or the Union’s request to work together. UAW 2865 remains committed to work with undocumented students in proposing solutions to the issue at hand. UAW 2865 understands that the bargaining team’s ability to provide equitable opportunities to undocumented students will largely be part of the Union’s ability to reach out, work with, and collaborate with undocumented populations across the state. Therefore, we are engaging your support and your feedback to make a difference and provide access, funding, and support to the undocumented student population, regardless of immigration status.
Note: This document is a work in progress and not a final draft, as UAW 2865 is working in coalition with undocumented student groups and receiving ongoing feedback.