Uncertainty surrounding DACA pushes campus groups to protect students

IMG_6262By Ashley Peccerelli

The Trump Administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on Sept. 5, an Obama-era immigration program meant to protect undocumented children who were brought to the United States at a young age.

DACA protects more than 800,000 immigrant children – often referred to as DREAMers – to study and stay in the country.

UndocuTerps is an inclusive group on campus for undocumented members and mixed status families, and PLUMAS is a campus student advocacy group that builds political and social awareness in the Latinx community.

In February, UndocuTerps and PLUMAS hosted a Dream Gala to help provide financial support for DACA recipients “who cannot afford to renew their DACA paperwork,” PLUMAS Treasurer Melissa Silva said.

The 113 DREAMers currently enrolled at this university will retain their status until they expire, giving them until Oct. 5 to apply for renewal, according to PLUMAS.

“If you come from where [DACA recipients] come from and know the struggle they are going through, you have a personal motivation to help these students,” said Carlos Carhuas, a member of the Latino Student Union.

Emergency legislation was passed at an SGA meeting Sept. 6, calling on Congress to pass the Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream and Grow Our Economy (BRIDGE) Act and the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act – legislation that would ultimately give recipients a path to citizenship.

“The president of SGA made the bill better to benefit the [largest] number of students it could,” said SGA speaker pro tempore Leah Barteldes, a junior public policy and government and politics double major.

Several students and organizations have stepped forward in recent months to protect DREAMers.

According to PLUMAS Public Relations Chair Blanca Arriola Palma, a “phone banking” event took place at the beginning of this month to “show support for DACA recipients and effectively call congressmen and congresswomen to denounce the administration.”

“I don’t have DACA, but I have friends that do and it hurts to know that their lives can be taken away; this is all they know and all they have,” Palma said. “The organization offers its resources and support for DACA recipients and students who have been affected.”

Junior government and politics major Maynor Navarro showed concern for the livelihoods of DREAMers.

“Most [recipients] have lived here most of their lives, sending them to a country where they have never lived in. It would change them completely,” Navarro said. “Some of them are really invested in school , [and] for what? There is no point if [President Trump] is going to take that opportunity away from them.”

 

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