By Noe Ortega
The Welcome and Support Resource Center invited students to receive Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals renewal assistance from the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic on Thursday Feb. 16. DACA is an American immigration policy that the Obama administration started in 2012.
It allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation.
It also makes them eligible for a work permit. The resource center offers help to undocumented students, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer veterans, and members of the Disabled Student Program and Services.
Students like Oscar Cruz, who was brought to the United States at the age of three to have a better life, now worries about his future because of the remarks President Trump made about deporting all undocumented immigrants. “It’s scary to see this kind of president was elected to lead the United States of America.
However, I should feel privileged to be here in California, which is a state that’s very pro-immigrant and is doing something for their undocumented students to create a safe haven for them,” Cruz said. Cruz works as a staff member in the Welcome and Support Resource Center.
In the fall of 2015, 10,967 undocumented students were enrolled in the Los Angeles Community College District. Of those, 6,465 were credit students and 4,502 were non-credit students. Credit students are students who take credit courses and receive a letter grade at the end of each semester for college units.
Non-credit students take non-credit classes through the Continuing Education Division. This is about 7.1% of all enrolled students. East Los Angeles College had the highest number of credited undocumented students in Fall 2015 with 1,843.
Undocumented students are overwhelmingly Hispanic, with more than 80% of credit and noncredit students. Undocumented students had slightly higher successful course completion rates (67.8%) compared to all LACCD students (65.9%). DACA has helped students like Cesar Hernandez who was brought to this country when he was three months old.
“It’s definitely helped me. I wouldn’t be able to afford college without it. Without DACA, I would have to pay tuition. I wouldn’t get the board of governors’ grant and I wouldn’t have access to this education,” Hernandez said. While Cruz is worried for his future, Hernandez believes that President Trump will do the right thing about DACA and not remove it.
“I’m not too worried because he knows that educated immigrants are here to help,” Hernandez said. Like Cruz, student service worker Elizandro Umana works at the Welcome and Support Resource Center to help undocumented students.
He believes that Dreamers are important but that there are bigger problems than DACA possibly being taken from students “This is not a Republican thing; this is not a Trump thing; this is a long-standing issue in this country. “This is what some people call respectability politics. “Everybody puts the Dreamers up there but there’s a lot of other people that deserve that right, too,” said Umana. Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic attorney Alejandro Barajas has helped ELAC students since last year with their DACA and with general consultations.
“We provide a number of different services and we also go out into the community like schools, churches and any place that really needs us. “We have been holding these DACA workshops at schools and help students with their DACA or general consultations, but because DACA is kind of limited right now, we have to discuss what’s going to happen to DACA,” Barajas said.