(The Center Square) – The Executive Committee has passed a bill that would require public universities to designate an employee as an Undocumented Student Resource Liasion to help students without documentation get access to aid.
House Bill 3438, which has 18 co-sponsors, has been scheduled for a third reading and has been brought forward to help students of undocumented immigrants get the help and resources they need in a college setting.
Tanya Cabrera, who is the assistant vice provost for Student Inclusion for the Illinois Dream Foundation, said House Bill 3438 would help those students get the help they need without having to be nervous about revealing their immigration status.
"We have had 87% of our students did not seek out any additional resources because of the triggering fear of self-revealing their immigration status," Cabrera said.
Former Illinois Dream Foundation scholarship winner and undocumented immigrant Egle Malinauskaite has been in support of this bill and says that more students need a bill like this to get where they need to go in life.
"Every university needs their own Tanya Cabrera, someone who understands how the immigration system interacts with higher education and someone who advocates for the success of undocumented students," Malinauskaite said.
Republican state Rep. Adam Niemerg opposed the bill because he said it was an unfunded mandate on colleges and universities. Niemerg said that while he supports legal immigration, but said he is opposed to “using taxpayer money to fund a project for illegal immigrants is something I am against."
House Bill 3438 passed through the Executive Committee and is scheduled for a third reading.