DACA/DREAM Frontera Fund News

Russell Pearce Returns to Attack Immigrant Youth Attending Higher Education

Recall campaign posters asking Mesa citizens to retire then-Senator Russell Pearce in 2011. Photo: Carmen Cornejo
Recall campaign posters asking Mesa citizens to retire then-Senator Russell Pearce in 2011. Photo: Carmen Cornejo
Carmen Cornejo
Written by Carmen Cornejo

Russell Pearce, sworn enemy of DREAMers and immigrants in general, came out of his political exile to drop a revengeful and venomous threat to sue public education institutions in Arizona for offering in-state tuition rates to immigrant youth beneficiaries of the DACA program.

Yes, he wants to sue universities and colleges for advancing higher education and making our state more competitive.

The former Arizona State Senator brought to Arizona unconstitutional laws like SB 1070, limited access to higher education for immigrant youth through Prop. 300, and eliminated social benefits to undocumented immigrants. He is now partnering with a conservative group called Judicial Watch to attack the Arizona Board of Regents and Maricopa Community College District for continuing their support for DACA/DREAMers in the form of in-state tuition rates.

He wants to force Arizona Attorney General Marc Brnovich to impose out-of-state tuition fees to DACA recipients, following the ruling by a court of appeals judge who said they are not eligible for lower in-state college tuition. A previous ruling had allowed in-state tuition rates.

The fight in the courts will continue.

Never forget that this far-right ideologue was recalled by the community in an epic electoral journey that took place in one of the more conservative districts in the nation. He was booted from his powerful post in disgrace. I, along with DREAMers, participated in this effort in 2011.

He has been waiting for this moment to get revenge.

“I grew up in Russell Pearce’s district, and I lived first hand his abuse of power and racist rhetoric,” said Aliento’s leader Reyna Montoya.  “We knew that Mesa voters and Arizonans are not like him, that’s why we took him out of office. He is back again attacking young people and their ability to further their education. We know we are on the right side of history and we will continue to educate and work with educators, business owners, and students to ensure DACA recipients continue to pursue their higher education dreams while paying in-state tuition.”

As we posted before, thanks to the anti-immigrant Trump-Sessions administration, the dark characters of the immigration debate feel empowered. The extremist forces of the Republican Party are clamoring for the elimination or “phase off” of the DACA program.

Several attempts to end the program are taking place simultaneously across the country. The Texas attorney general has gathered a petition along with nine colleagues to phase off DACA, and there are lawsuits in the courts that threaten the existence of the program.

In the meantime, Pearce wants to make sure they are not getting an education.

As expected, immigrant youth are fighting for their real-life gains and are not letting these efforts go unnoticed.

Expect actions in this long, long summer.

Find the latest DACA/DREAMer news with Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund.