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Montgomery College Excalibur

The Student News Site of Montgomery College

Montgomery College Excalibur

The Student News Site of Montgomery College

Montgomery College Excalibur

Undocumented Students Deserve a Fair Chance at College

Gerson Quinteros, Yasmine Juhar, Mariam Hashiru, and Luz Gonzales at the Education, Energy, and Environment Committee Hearing room in the Maryland General Assembly. They are waiting to testify in support of SB637. Photo credits: Courtesy of Gerson Quinteros.

Legislation – SB0637 – Maryland General Assembly:Recently, as an MC Student, I had the privilege of testifying in support of SB637, Higher Education – Undocumented Students – Out of State Tuition Exemption Eligibility, on February 28. This meeting took place virtually and at the Maryland General Assembly State Capitol, specifically in the Education, Energy, and Environment committee hearing room.

This amendment will reduce the number of years an individual or the individual’s parent/guardian must file taxes before the academic year to receive an out of state tuition exemption. By reducing from 3 years to 1, more undocumented students can apply and go to postsecondary institutions.

Joined by fellow leaders and organizers from United We Dream chapters, a sector of a national non-profit comprising the largest immigrant youth led network in the country, advocating for immigration reform.

I stood for the amendment alteration aiming to support undocumented students in accessing financial aid for higher education. In my testimony, to address how much of an impact this amendment could have, I cited data on the number of undocumented students in Maryland:

“According to the Higher Ed Immigration Portal, Maryland is home to over 11,970 undocumented students enrolled in higher education annually, with an additional 2,000 undocumented high school graduates each year. Many of these individuals either attend Montgomery College or aspire to do so.”

The Maryland Dream Act currently imposes limitations on numerous immigrant students due to the stringent 3-year tax requirement. In support of this amendment alteration, we are broadening the pool of applicants eligible to pursue education at public institutions in Maryland.

Montgomery College has demonstrated an appreciation for its diverse student body. In fact, this institution has committed itself to welcoming all students, including undocumented students, providing extra support to whoever needs help navigating the requirements of the Maryland Dream Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Montgomery College recognizes the richness of its learning environment, designed to equip students with cross-cultural understanding and engagement. As a student representing this esteemed institution, I consider it an honor. My hope is that my advocacy inspires fellow students to continue fighting for more equitable distribution of resources among all students, regardless of their documentation status.

In closing my testimony, I said the following:

“We cannot say Maryland is a sanctuary for immigrants, and yet they are away from services that would greatly benefit them and make their journeys to whatever aspirations lie within their reach, possible.”

Link to full testimony:

Yasmine Juhar Feb, 28 MGA Testimony

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About the Contributor
Yasmine Juhar
Yasmine Juhar, Staff Writer
Yasmine Juhar is a sophomore majoring in General Studies with a primary focus on Social Science. She dedicates her time to two main endeavors: serving as a staff writer for The Excalibur and as the President of MC Raptors for Immigrant Rights, a club she initiated. Prison reform is a cause close to her heart, fueled by her aspiration to become a defense attorney in the future. The mass incarceration crisis in the country drives her to advocate for change and to empower marginalized communities, including minorities like herself. She is committed to fostering diversity, inclusion, and ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to pursue success.

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