UIC Statement on Immigration

April 19, 2013

The University of Illinois at Chicago is known for providing access to excellence and success in higher education.

UIC is proud to be known as one of the most diverse campuses in the United States. We have been enriched by the diverse experiences of our faculty, staff and students, both U.S. born and immigrant. We view diversity not only as a commitment, but as a strength, and we feel our nation would do well to do the same, as it has traditionally.

Therefore, UIC joins today with other U.S. institutions of higher education to recognize April 19, 2013, as a day of awareness and action regarding immigration reform. This follows the appeal made to President Obama and congressional leaders by 150 university presidents and chancellors in September 2012 to act on immigration reform so our country can "retain and benefit from immigrants educated at our universities."

Today we again stand in solidarity with campus and student leaders at colleges and universities across America to say that as we deny academically qualified young people in our country access to higher education, we deprive our nation of the talent it needs. We join in the call for immigration reform to attract, educate, and retain the many deserving students who represent some of the world's brightest and contribute to our cultural and intellectual diversity.

The April 19 recognition is focused on students. We at UIC are proud to serve many amazing students who have had difficult lives, made more difficult by immigration policies. These students have struggled to reach our doors and trust us to help them make a better future for themselves and their families.

While we recognize April 19 as a day of action, at UIC we act on immigration challenges every day. We guide prospective students through the college application process and to permitted sources of funding for their education. At UIC we strive to ensure a welcoming and sustaining climate for learning and living.

We recognize April 19 by announcing the formation of the UIC Task Force on Best Strategies to Help Dream Act Students Succeed. This Task Force brings together UIC faculty, staff and students and immigrant advocates from the Chicago Latino/a, Asian American and East European communities to work for legislative reform to enable undocumented students in Illinois to receive types of financial aid currently unavailable to them. Thanks to the Dream Act and state legislation, all students — regardless of legal status — who graduate from an Illinois high school may apply to Illinois' state universities and, if accepted, pay in-state tuition. However, federal law prohibits awarding undocumented students support that is not mandated by state law. This excludes such students from many sources of financial aid, tuition waivers, and other tuition cost relief.

UIC is a campus with a global perspective, strongly rooted in Chicago, that embraces a statewide presence and responsibility. We believe that the interests of all are best served by a skilled and diverse workforce made up of well-educated people. We are proud to stand with our students and others across the country in support of immigration reform that would include access to higher education and government provided financial aid.

Paula Allen-Meares
John Corbally Presidential Professor

Lon S. Kaufman
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost