After President Donald Trump’s executive orders restricting travelers from majority-Muslim countries and increasing the detention of undocumented immigrants, students have expressed their concerns about their ability to travel in and out of the country.
The Graduate Student Government has responded to these students by creating the GSG Emergency Fund for Undocumented and International Students. The resolution, which was drafted by the USC Price Student Organization Coalition, will allocate $20,000 in emergency funding for students facing student visa issues because of Trump’s policies, and also will also help students who benefit from the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals by paying the fees to renew their status, according to a proposal sent to the Daily Trojan.
“The resolution is denouncing President Trump’s executive order restricting the refugee resettlement program and travel from the seven Muslim-majority countries,” said Christina Gutierrez, one of the co-founders of the Price Student Organization Coalition. “[It] reaffirms support for refugees, Muslim immigrants and religious minorities.”
According to GSG, the initiative will provide a maximum of $700 per student to help with visa-, DACA- and other renewal-related costs, as well as legal fees and other expenses. GSG also stated its commitment to ensuring strict confidentiality with applicant records and promised to delete any personal information they receive within two days of distributing funds.
“No administration money is going into it, it’s our funding as Graduate Student Government, and part of that funding comes from international and undocumented students,” said GSG Director of Campus Affairs Christopher Lo-Records. “[The fund is] carryover, so it’s excess money that we have left over after seeding to our core programs.”
Because the emergency fund is run by GSG, undergraduate students will not have access to the funds.
“We’re the only branch of student government doing this, which means that undergraduate students are not being served to the same extent that graduate students are,” Records said. “I think that USG bears a responsibility to do what we’ve done.”
Records also stated that USC’s large international population means that the University has a duty to fight for inclusion and justice for foreign and undocumented students. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 252 students from countries banned by Trump’s executive action go to the University.
“We have a particular role to play because [USC is] so reliant on international students,” Records said. “We have a responsibility to be even more vocal and even more of a leader to advocate for this.”
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated Christina Gutierrez was a founder of the Price Student Organization Coalition. She was actually the co-founder along with Victor Sanchez, Britney Wise, Anna Evans Goldstein, Nick Weinmeister, Andrew Lamotte and Nadia Kelifa.