News Detail
Dr. Jennifer Ayala, director of The Center for Undocumented Students, meetis with staff and volunteers for the center. (Corey McDonald/The Jersey Journal)
Undocumented Students Find a Home at Saint Peter's University

September 26, 2016 — Two years after Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey, opened a center for undocumented students, it continues to be a place of harbor and hope.

The Center for Undocumented Students (TCUS), which opened in the fall of 2014, is one of just a few such centers at U.S. universities. Dr. Jennifer Ayala, director of the center and a professor of political science, explained that its mission is “to support the academic work of undocumented students at the university; to shed intellectual light on the political and economic realities of immigration in our world today; and to create a community where undocumented students feel welcome.”

In practical terms, this includes providing a safe space for students; a resource library; legal support; advice for TCUS students and their families about deportation defense and on immigration issues; and mentoring.

The center also helps students find ways to pay for their education. Because undocumented students cannot obtain loans or receive grants, they have to pay their own tuition or look for donors to assist with tuition. The center and faculty use their networks to help connect students with donors, and anonymous donors set up a dreamer scholarship fund, available to Saint Peter’s students who meet certain academic criteria.

The TCUS grew out of conversations with Saint Peter’s faculty and staff, as they became aware of the plight of the undocumented. Other Jesuit colleges and universities around the country are also grappling with how to help the undocumented, so there is a network sharing the best practices, according to Ayala.

Li, 23, who came to the U.S. from Mexico with his family when he was seven, is getting ready to graduate from Saint Peter’s and plans to go to graduate school for a master's in mental health. Erika, 20, who came to the States when she was eight, says she “feels safe at the university” and is planning a career in international business. Both feel fortunate to be students at Saint Peter’s and have the support of the center.

“There is a general ignorance of the plight of the millions of undocumented,” said Dr. Anna Brown, a political science professor at the university. She said that all the labels cannot obscure the fact “we need to see a human being in front of us.” [Source: NJ.com]





Recent News

December 18, 2018 — Each of these nine myths is accompanied by a response rooted in fact and Catholic social justice teaching.

December 17, 2018 — In honor of Pope Francis' 82nd birthday, here are 82 things the Jesuits love about Pope Francis.

December 10, 2018 — Former Johnson & Johnson executive David Smith returns to his hometown to lead school. He will succeed Fr. Mark Luedtke, SJ, on July 1, 2019.

December 7, 2018 — USA Central and Southern Province and Jesuits West released the names of Jesuits credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor or a vulnerable adult.

November 30, 2018 — This Advent season, we ask Jesus to light the dark. We pray for that light to inflame us with brighter faith, hope and love.

November 27, 2018 — This year, U.S. and Canadian Jesuits were ordained to the diaconate at several different Masses in the United States, Canada, Rome, Paris and Cairo.

November 26, 2018 — Better known as Padre Melo, Ismael Moreno, SJ, is the director of the Honduran Jesuit radio station, Radio Progreso.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 12/10/18

America 11/26/18

America 11/12/18



Manresa Jesuit Retreat House
Manresa Jesuit Retreat House, located north of Detroit in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., offers retreatants a respite from the city on its 37–acre campus with almost 50,000 trees.