The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Rally rejected — SUDA agrees to immigration open forum

Photo courtesy of SUDA’s Facebook.

Benjamin Rubio, president of the Students United for the Dream Act at Texas A&M-San Antonio, presented the idea of an “Americans United for Immigration Rally” to the Student Programming Board on Jan. 18.Since then, SUDA members have received mixed feedback for an event held here.

Laura Pantano, assistant vice president of the office of student engagement and success, says it’s a “controversial topic” because “you are either in support of it, or against it.”Pantano and Rubio discussed an open forum rather than a rally. They also discussed bringing in a speaker on the topic of immigration and the Dream Act closer to Hispanic Heritage Month. Pantano and SUDA reached an agreement to do so in September, and SUDA will bring on local lawyers from the State of Texas on their own dime, instead of requesting funds from SPB.“What we are thinking of doing is bringing on local lawyers — who are just as knowledgeable — and have an open forum,” Rubio said.

Rubio attended the Jan.18  SPB meeting to request $800 in programming support to purchase airfare for speaker Belinda DeeDee Blase, co-president of the National Tequila Party Movement, a female-led political movement with a strong Latino following and a message of compassion towards immigrants and legal immigration reform, according to their website.

Blase is the founder of Somos Republicans. She lives in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The idea was supported by SPB President Stefanie Shedrock who said she liked the idea, but others were silent before the discussion moved forward.

Members were stuck on one word: rally.

Rubio presented a proposal, which included this statement of purpose:

“Funding this request to organize an open immigration rally on campus will benefit TAMU-SA students because this event will present them with information about the dire need for political education …. This presentation on immigration will be a movement towards the enhancement of multi-cultural background in this diverse nation; a diversity that is also represented by our University.”

Rubio added that he wanted to bring together a “congregation of people” in a place in “which we could generalize information about the broken immigration system.”

He described the organization and explained why he thought Blase would be the ideal speaker.

“We thought it would be perfect because here at Texas A&M-San Antonio has a 60 percent female population,” Rubio said.

Members of SPB discussed the idea and asked for feedback from a staff member.

“I don’t see there would be any problem with it; they are a recognized student organization on campus,” Jolene Des Roches, counselor disability services coordinator, said.

A discussion followed.

Hoyt Garner, SPB and History Club secretary, said he was concerned the rally would be “aimed more toward people who don’t know what their options are as far as education or their status in the country.”

Shedrock tabled the event. She said the board would discuss SUDA’s proposal at the next SPB meeting.

During a Jan. 25 SPB follow-up meeting, Pantano said that there was a mixed reaction from the board regarding the topic.

She said, “It’s a very controversial topic and everybody is very passionate about your stance on it. The University cannot be seen as taking a stance on one side.”

In response, Rubio said that “the community has certain innate ideas about undocumented people because these issues aren’t known by everyone and that’s why were are trying to generalize this information in the first place.”

He explained SUDA’s main goal is to lower the social stigma attached to undocumented people.

“I myself am an undocumented student,” Rubio said.

He said SUDA offers other services to students and the community, including the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, whose aim is to deputize community members to register others to vote.

SUDA SAC and Students United for the Dream Act at Texas A&M-San Antonio held a mass deputization through the department of the South West Voter Registration Education Project  at noon Feb. 8 at Main Campus Building.

Rubio said he distributed information about the deputization throughout the community, including the South Side.

SPB meets at 12:30 p.m. every Wednesday. Visit the SPB Facebook.

About the Author

Kelly Rodriguez
Aspiring journalist, music enthusiast and avid record collector. Full time student at Texas A&M San Antonio, pursuing my B.A In communications, after which I hope to obtain my Masters, and if the wind sails the correct way attend Grad School. Easy going and open to constructive criticism.

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