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ASUNM Sen. Jorge Guerrero expresses his opinion about a resolution to remove Social Security numbers from UNM's entrance application on Wednesday at the SUB Meeting rooms. The resolution passed the Senate.
ASUNM Sen. Jorge Guerrero expresses his opinion about a resolution to remove Social Security numbers from UNM's entrance application on Wednesday at the SUB Meeting rooms. The resolution passed the Senate.

Senate passes Social Security number resolution

Legislation aims to help undocumented students, passes on second attempt

Sen. Jorge Guerrero reintroduced the resolution, which seeks to make submitting a Social Security number no longer a requirement for prospective students, after it failed at the Senate’s last meeting due to inadequate information.

He said asking undocumented students to submit a Social Security number that they don’t have is meaningless.

“The Social Security number (requirement) is basically for financial aid, and undocumented students can’t get financial aid legally in the United States,” he said.

According to the resolution, which cites the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Education is a fundamental right.” It also states that online applications are the primary method by which prospective students apply to UNM.

During discussion of the resolution, it was debated whether replacing the word “required” with “optional” on the Social Security number section of the application would result in documented students not providing the necessary information, thereby making it difficult to distinguish between documented and undocumented students, who would need more assistance and resources if accepted to UNM.

Sen. Tori Pryor said ensuring that undocumented students get the help they need is something ASUNM can work on further, but that those resources shouldn’t have to be decided on immediately.

“This is not the concrete roadmap for exactly what has to happen,” Pryor said. “This is the Senate’s intent for what we’d like to see going forward.”

Carmen Castillo, a junior Spanish major, advocated for the passage of the resolution at the meeting. She related a story about a friend of hers from high school who struggled when applying for colleges due to her status as an undocumented citizen.

“It was really heartbreaking because she had a bright future ahead of her, and she wasn’t able to do the things that she wanted because of the wall that she hit,” she said.

Castillo said that not only do undocumented citizens feel discouraged when they see applications requiring a Social Security number, but the school they hope to attend also misses an opportunity.

“The University loses tons and tons of potential,” she said.

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In addition to being supported by multiple ASUNM senators, the legislation was also officially supported by the UNM Dream Team, an organization that fights for immigrant students, and the Men of Color Alliance.

David Lynch is a staff reporter at The Daily Lobo. He can be reached at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @RealDavidLynch.

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