George Mason University student senators passed a resolution Thursday that voiced their support for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. Many interested students packed into the meeting room at Mason Hall to witness the resolution.

The resolution, which supports a federal act that would grant permanent residency to illegal aliens who meet certain requirements, passed 20–5, with one senator abstaining. The resolution was introduced by Clerk Elizabeth Baires and Senators Randy Salter, Michael McKenney, Jason Von Kundra and Donald Garrett.

by Stephen Kline

The issue divided the senators into two camps — one was fully in support of the resolution, while the others were concerned that voicing a political opinion in a resolution goes beyond the scope of Student Government. A few senators were also concerned that their constituents would not support the resolution.

“As representatives of George Mason University Student Government, it’s definitely within our scope,” said Von Kundra, who supported the resolution. “It’s our obligation to voice student opinions.”

Kundra said he hasn’t encountered many students opposed to it.

“I don’t understand how if this resolution would pass, it would hurt anyone,” Kundra said.

The vote attracted many Mason students who wanted to observe the deliberation. Student Government President Ally Bowers said in the four years she has been a part of Student Government, she has never seen so many people at a senate meeting. Many of the senators commented on the turnout as well.

No gallery member spoke out against the resolution, and many had signs in support of it.

“I’m a student and it’s important we bring this up for the betterment of education,” said senior communication major Cristian Pineda, who stood in the gallery. “I’m really excited that GMU took a stand on an issue that impacts students. This is a political issue, but I feel like it’s important for students to be educated enough to take a stand on an issue that can benefit the university.”

Bowers was pleased with the turnout.

“If they want us to represent their voice to the administration or higher up, we’re happy to do that for them,” Bowers said. “Just let us know — all meetings are open to the public and are posted online.”

Many of the senators had comments prepared as Speaker Thomas Lee moved down the list of names.

“I look around and see friends, coworkers, students. It just shows you — this is our job,” said Senator Jordan Foster, the chair of the M.A.S.O.N. committee. “These are the students and we’re working for them.”

The resolution came out of the Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Committee.

“I feel great,” said Deepika Sharma, the chair of that committee. “It makes me happy to see students who are passionate about something come and do something about it.”

“This is a very dark road we’re following — this is inherently political,” Senator Vernon Miles said. “I don’t think that’s what GMU Student Government should do. We should not determine right or wrong.”

Senator Carolyn Horton said that she believes existing immigration laws are flawed, but that they do still exist.

“We should focus on our laws that exist, without adding loopholes to something that’s already broken,” Horton said. “Capitol Hill is a couple miles down the road. It’d be more of a benefit to target them instead of this campus. We should focus on the impact Student Government can have on campus.”

Senator Evan Del Duke was also opposed to the resolution.

“This resolution is dangerous,” Del Duke said. “This would set a precedent — why aren’t we supporting students who want guns in buildings, who are pro-life or pro-choice? We are liaisons between students and administration, not students and the government.”

Upon passage of the resolution, which was the first item of business discussed after committee reports, the room erupted in applause and a five-minute recess was declared. Most of the gallery left the meeting during the recess.

by Stephen Kline

“I think this is a great step forward,” said junior government and international politics major Veronica Ramos-Coreas. “I think the bigger battle is still ahead. This brings visibility to the issue, to the people it affects. Hopefully, we can keep going.”

The DREAM Act was initially introduced to the United States Senate in 2001. If passed, the bill would provide a path to legal residency for certain illegal aliens of “good moral character” who are graduates of U.S. high schools or hold a GED, who arrived in the U.S. as minors and who lived in the country for at least five years prior to the bill’s enactment.

People who meet those requirements would then be given a six-year temporary residency, within which they must earn a degree from an institution of higher education, spend at least two years in good academic standing or serve in the military for at least two years to achieve the permanent residency, according to a fact sheet on the official White House website.





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  1. Want to get involved? Check out the Mason DREAMers Website and join our facebook group!