By Cristina Herrera Borquez
MASA was unofficially born in 2001, in response to the drastic changes in immigration policy after the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11. When the City University of New York and the State University of New York declared that undocumented immigrant students would have to pay out-of state-tuition, even if they had lived in New York for years, students launched protests.
One of their leaders was Angelo Cabrera, an undocumented student who immigrated to the United States when he was 15 years old from Puebla, Mexico. After meetings, rallies and a hunger strike that lasted four days, in August 2002, Gov. George Pataki signed a law revoking the tuition provision.
From that protest grew MASA. Realizing that the number of Mexican students enrolling in college was disproportionately low, its founders decided to create a support system for struggling students.
A version of this story appeared in the Winter 2009 edition of the Mott Haven Herald.