Latino students protest Prop. 300, fear cuts in aid
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 24, 2006

Chris Ramirez

Latino students closed their books Monday to protest a ballot measure they say could make college unaffordable for undocumented immigrants, even valedictorians raised in Arizona.

Roughly 150 students marched Valley streets urging voters to reject Proposition 300, one of four initiatives on the Nov. 7 ballot relating to immigration. Marchers chanted "No on 300" - in English and Spanish - as they hoofed 15 miles from Arizona State University in Tempe to the Capitol.

Luz Rodriguez, 18, and a handful of other students marched wearing graduation caps and gowns to further their point. "It creates an uneducated society," Rodriguez, who attends ASU's west campus, said of the measure.
"Getting an education is already expensive. Forcing students to pay even more because of where their parents come from is just unfair."

Prop. 300, one of 19 ballot initiatives this year, calls for an end to taxpayer subsidies for education and child-care services for undocumented immigrants and non-citizens. Arizona students who are not Americans would have to pay out-of-state fees to attend public colleges here, if the measure passes.

"These are people who have been here all their lives, raised here since they were kids," said ASU West psychology major Jason Santana Ramos, 23. "They're getting punished for a decision they didn't make."

Sen. Dean Martin, R-Phoenix, has said the measure he sponsored intends to lessen tax burdens in Arizona, where in-state tuition costs have doubled in the last six years. He and other supporters believe Prop. 300 is needed to keep undocumented immigrants from benefiting from state services, which they argue is a financial drain.

Roughly three-fourths of the more than 500,000 students enrolled in Arizona's public two- and four-year colleges claimed to be in-state residents when they applied. Colleges don't ask in-state applicants if they are in the country legally.

Passage of the initiative could force undocumented Arizona students to turn down scholarships, said state Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.