Updated: Northwestern School of Law dean comes out in support of admitting undocumented immigrants

Cat Zakrzewski, Campus Editor

The dean of Northwestern’s law school announced this evening his support for admitting and enrolling undocumented immigrants.

In an email to the School of Law community, Dean Daniel Rodriguez said he has started drafting a formal statement on the issue. The law school currently does not address undocumented students in its written policies.

“My position on this is that the law school should be fully open to all students, even those who may be undocumented, because of their immigration status is not relevant to their ability to learn and contribute to our community,” Rodriguez wrote.

Last academic year, the Graduate School issued a memorandum expressing its support for admitting and enrolling undocumented immigrants. University spokesman Al Cubbage said for undergraduate students, the admissions process for undocumented immigrants is similar to the process for international students.

“We treat them as citizens from the country from which they are a citizen,” Cubbage said. “That’s the policy.”

University President Morton Schapiro explained that the University is not need blind for international students and does not meet their full need requirements. Cubbage said that like international students, undocumented students are not eligible for government financial aid, including Pell grants, Stafford loans or the Illinois monetary assistance program.

Schapiro advocated for citizenship for undocumented high school students who want to attend college in the U.S.

“If they’re brilliant enough to get into Northwestern, wouldn’t it be great if they were able to afford and actually come?” he said. “We want a rich, diverse population of students who are going to be world leaders and can educate one another in the process. I’m sure that there are countless numbers of kids who could benefit from a Northwestern education and could benefit their peers while they all got an education together.”

Cubbage noted the University’s long-time support of the DREAM Act, a decade-old bill to grant citizenship to young undocumented immigrants pursuing college degrees or serving in the military for a minimum of two years.

— Cat Zakrzewski