MSSU Student Group Hopes to Raise Money for Undocumented Student - FOX 14 TV Joplin and Pittsburg News Weather Sports |

MSSU Student Group Hopes to Raise Money for Undocumented Students' College Educations

Joplin, MO -

Some students at Missouri Southern State University hope to remove misconceptions about undocumented people and higher education.  People in the DACA program, or who are undocumented, can't get financial education assistance in Missouri.

We met one DACA student who is in this group.

"I was pretty much a standout athlete," says Cynthia Torres.

Torres has lives in this country ever since she was two-years-old, growing up in California.

"I have a couple of records in high school, and records at my community college," says Torres.

Almost three years ago, MSSU offered her a full-ride scholarship.

"When they were about to do the whole scholarship process, it had just been passed that people who are undocumented can't receive state-funded scholarships.  So they told me we can't give you your athletic scholarship," says Torres.

MSSU ended up working with Torres to receive privately-funded financial assistance towards her Secondary English Degree.  Fifteen other students at Missouri Southern are also undocumented.  Torres has helped form a student group called "The Friendly Immigrant."

"More than anything, just educating people about our stories," says Torres.

Only four undocumented students are part of the student group right now.  Torres speculates some students are afraid to join because of backlash from the community,

"I think the big misconception is we're here and just getting benefits," says Torres.  "We don't qualify for insurance, or medicaid, or food stamps," says Torres.

MSSU students like Zeth Copher say they support Torres' student group efforts, as long as the right goal is in sight.

"I'd say if they're in the process of citizenship, they should be able to have the chance of an education you should be able to get here," says Copher.

Torres is part of DACA, and says time is running out for her.  She fears under current DACA terms, she would have to move back to Mexico in a year.

"It's like a foreign land to me, so I wouldn't know what to do," says Torres.

In the meantime, Torres hopes her student group raises money to help support the college educations of other undocumented people.

"There are millions of people just like me who have been here all their lives, who are trying to contribute back to the country that has given them the opportunity to study and live here," says Torres.

Torres says she is weighing her option of having her brother, who was born in the United States, to petition the government for her permanent citizenship.  People doing those petitions have to be a certain age, and the wait to get the citizenship can be lengthy.  

Click here to learn more about "The Friendly Immigrant."

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