Hoax Highlights Discrimination Against Undocumented College Applicants

Cheryl Knobel

Attendees of the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education applauded when a man who identified himself as

Daniel Vargas, Communications Director for the Common Application, announced that the application used by 477 American colleges and universities would accommodate undocumented Americans. These students are usually identified as international students,” but the change, he said, would allow them to check an undocumented immigrant” box in the demographics section. It would also include undocumented” as a protected status in the application’s anti-discrimination clause.

ColorLines picked up the story and “#undocuequality” received praise on Twitter before it was revealed by activists the next day that Vargas was actually undocumented immigrant and activist David Ramirez, who staged the hoax in order to bring attention to the hurdles undocumented students face in education and the college application process. Common Application has not announced any change to its policies.

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