UA feeling early effects of new AZ immigration law - Tucson News Now

UA feeling early effects of new AZ immigration law

By Barbara Grijalva - email

The buzz on campus Thursday was about a memo sent out by University of Arizona President Robert Shelton to the university community.

With 35% of incoming freshmen coming from out of state, including from other countries, Shelton is hoping to put out some fires.

Students, especially international students, are worried about what the law might mean for them.

"I think we feel offended," says UA student Sijie Chen who is from China.

International students at the university already comply with federal law, but they are worried Arizona might demand more, and some are wondering about their decision to come to Arizona. 

"It sounds very troublesome to me. I would consider about it," says UA student Jin Zhang.

"Consider what?" she is asked.

"Consider about to change to, maybe to move to another state that does not have this kind of law," she says.

The university says no one truly knows yet how the law will affect anyone, especially international students, faculty and staff as they move around campus.

UA student Khaliza Binti Khalid, of Malaysia, says, "If, let's say, I forgot to bring the documents all day it will be a problem. And one more thing, it's very inconvenient to bring it every day and everywhere you go you need it."

"We get a lot of questions regarding, 'Do I need to carry my documents to campus?' Our concern is them losing it, as well.  We don't want them to lose their documents," says Director of International Student Programs and Services Joanne Lagasse-Long.

UA President Robert Shelton says this is a bad time for something like this because students are deciding what university they'll attend.

"Well, I think it's certainly affecting our image, rightly or wrongly. Again, you can argue whether it shouldn't, but the fact is our image is being tarnished a bit," Shelton says.

Because of the immigration law, a handful of American students from other states are changing their minds about coming to the UA.

"When we lose talented out-of-state students who have already pledged to come to the University of Arizona, who not only bring tuition dollars, thank you very much, but also bring that broader perspective, that mix and interaction with our Arizona residents, that is a loss," Shelton says.

Out-of-state tuition next school year will be about $22,500, plus books, room and board and any other money the student would spend in Tucson.

Shelton says some sponsors of international events at the university have canceled as well.

He also says a few alumni have notified the university they will not continue to donate to the school.

Shelton is hoping what is now a trickle does not become a torrent.

He says it is an emotional issue, but the university wants people to get the facts.

He says people are uncertain, and they need more information.

As for international students, that uncertainty remains. 

"If this law was established last year when I was deciding to come here, I think maybe, most probably, I will opt for another state. Colorado," says UA student Nurul Syazwani Yahaya of Malaysia.

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