By LYNDSAY MACH & DAVID OLIJNEK, NEWS3 Reporter & Guest Reporter
MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) — As thousands of migrants from Central America gather at the southern border waiting for an opportunity to come into the United States, a debate over their legal status swirls in Congress.
The immigrants who are seeking asylum are unsure whether it will be granted due to the current pandemic situation in the country. Title 42 in the 1944 Public Health Service Act allows federal officials to ban people and goods from entering the country during a pandemic.
According to WIU political science professor Julia Albarracin-Green, this act is being used as an excuse to deport immigrants at the border.
“They were using that because of COVID-19, but according to my understanding that allows you to reject immigrants at the border, not to accept them first and then deport them later.”
With the border in crisis and uncertainty high for DACA students (often referred to as “dreamers” due to their protected status under the DREAM Act), the university made the decision to offer scholarship relief to some of these students in the form of the WIU DREAMers Scholarship.
“For the DREAMers scholarship, you need to be either an undocumented student, a student that doesn’t have any kind of visa or papers to their name, you could be a DACA recipient, you could also be a temporary protected status student,” Albarracin-Green said.
Fundraising for the scholarship has already surpassed the university’s goal of $20,000, so students who applied are set to receive more than the $5,000 minimum grant award.
“We had a rule that we’d give a minimum of $5,000 per student, and we have about $21,000,” Albarracin-Green said. “So we can fund at least three, or we could’ve funded four, but the scholarship is closed now and so far we have three applications.”