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Panel Held to Discuss Illegal Immigrants Right to College

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/panelheldt_178.mp3

Students at Missouri State are trying to change the minds of the community and make a difference in celebration of Hispanic Heritage month. A panel discussion was recently held to discuss whether illegal immigrants are entitled to a college education. KSMU's Jana Greer reports.

This year, it is estimated that about 65-thousand undocumented students in the US will graduate from high school, but in most states they must be documented to attend college. Missouri State students held a panel discussion about this issue. All members of the panel supported letting illegal immigrants go to college. Manuel Abarca is a student at Missouri State and is the coordinator of the panel discussion. He says the purpose of the event was to educate.

One of the State Representatives in the audience was Democrat Charlie Norr. He says that he is ready to help make some changes for the undocumented students.

Opponents of letting illegal immigrants attend college such as State Representative Ed Emery says these individuals have broken the law and should not be able to pursue higher education.

In Missouri students do not have to be documented to attend college but a state bill was recently introduced that would change that. Students are pushing for a federal bill called the Dream Act that would give undocumented students a temporary status and allow them six years to complete college.

Those eligible for the Dream Act must have entered the US before they were 16-years-old and be between the ages 18 and 24. At the end of the six year temporary status the student would be able to apply for US citizenship.