BERKELEY, Calif. (KCBS) – It may not be a politically popular stand in this election year, but the chancellor at UC Berkeley says California should make more room for illegal immigrants at its elite universities.
In fact, Cal is welcoming undocumented immigrant students with open arms. UC Berkeley has a record number of low-income students this year, and many of them are undocumented immigrants.
According to Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, 37% of Cal students come from families earning $45,000 or less, annually. That’s more than Stanford and the entire Ivy League, combined. “This year we actually will have a record number of low-income students on our campus, the most Berkeley has ever had in its entire history,” he declared.
Some of the students in the low-income ranks are here illegally, including one freshman whose family brought him to American when he was five. “He actually didn’t know he was undocumented because his parents never told him,” explained Birgeneau. “And then he applied for financial aid and that is how he found out that he was undocumented. I mean, talk about human tragedies.”
Birgeneau says that student was allowed to enroll, and is being welcomed at Cal. The chancellor further said that California simply can’t afford to waste talented students, even if they are illegal immigrants. “Those are the kind of people we need to move California forward. So we need to find a pathway, not just education, but to citizenship for these outstanding people.”