A Student Government resolution, focused on offering legal aid to students inpacted by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), sparked controversy between senators Tuesday night before passing 43-1.
The resolution, written and sponsored by Sen. Salud Martinez, calls for administration to “actively support undocumented students” by working to ensure students know of the legal aid available to them.
Prior to the meeting, Sen. Spencer Tate wrote an email in an attempt to get the resolution taken off the agenda by arguing that it isn't a proper topic for the Senate and would be the Senate putting undocumented immigrants before citizens.
"I don't think it is proper for you to include a 'DACA' resolution on the Senate meeting agenda," Tate wrote in his email. "It is a gross misuse of power for you to advocate for these illegal aliens. Despite your promotion of anti-American Sentiment, to promote the advocation of illegal immigrants over American citizens in which you represent is disgusting. These 'dreamers' get in state-tuition even though they are foreigners and they bring issues to campus of all types."
While the comments during open forum were generally in support of the resolution, numerous statements made by students focused on Tate’s email that’s been shared on social media.
“My family came to America because they heard it’s the land of freedom and opportunity,” student John Walker said during open forum. “They did not come here to be called ‘illegal aliens,’ they did not come here to be ridiculed. They are already at a disadvantage because they have been displaced from their home. Homes that they had no choice but to run from.”
Marlene Zapien, a sophomore majoring in biomedical sciences, represented the Mexican Student Association and stated her position on the situation.
“We do not believe that it is appropriate for a senator to be saying those kinds of things, especially if you’re responding in such a harsh manner,” Zapien said.
The social media post prompted some students to email in responses to the executive branch. During the executive branch report, Chief of Staff Alexandria Moorehead shared these emails.
“’I’m a proud Bull because of how openly diverse and accepting we are,’” Moorehead said. “Today, however, I’m not a proud USF Bull. They state vile, uneducated remarks, with loaded language.’”