Immigration policies to be brought to light

Dream Resource Center to explore DACA

By Juan Calvillo

Students at East Los Angeles College can learn about the future of immigration policies at an informational event on the Tuesday.

The “Public Charge Rules, DACA and the Future of Immigration Policy” event will have legal experts in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, and public charge in attendance.

The Dream Resource Center is helping with outreach for the event.

DACA specialist María Ignacia Rodriguez Kmec and public charge expert Inna Parizher will be at the event to go over all the updates happening in each area.

Kmec is an immigration policy advocate at the National Immigration Law Center. 

Parizher is an attorney for immigration projects at the Neighbourhood Legal Services of Los Angeles. Rigoberto Reyes from the LA County Office of Immigration Affairs will also be on hand at the event talking about local government resources.

Public charges have become a talked about issue when it comes to immigration.

Under the current presidential administration the idea of public charge has been linked to immigration status and the hopes of changing said status. 

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service defines public charges, “For purposes of determining inadmissibility, “public charge” means an individual who is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.” 

ELAC law professor Courtney Powers said that public charge was a very complicated issue to talk about.

She said the current administration was broadening what it means to be a public charge and that it would challenge immigrants in getting their status changed.

With the status of DACA in question and with public charge undergoing so many changes, it is important now more than ever for students and the community to know what  can affect immigration status.

Powers said, “On DACA there is a lot of confusion out there right now, because President Obama created the program. President Trump has tried to rescind it.”

Powers said DACA students that have already registered are still able to get help but that no new students could apply.

She said that with a court case pending in the Supreme Court, the fate of DACA was in question, and  the experts in these fields might have greater insight into what might actually happen.

ELAC Law professor Filemón Samson said  the Law department is the main source of legal education on campus and that helping students with legal information on important issues made sense.

“We feel it’s important to support our students with legal issues that are going to be impacting their daily lives,” Samson said.

He reached out to Brian Henderson, student services specialist at the DRC, in the hopes of helping students.

He said he had known that the DRC had legal help for students but that it was somewhat limited and that an event like this one might be able to reach a wider audience.

“If we pool our resources we can do more,” Samson said.

Samson said the event was not just for students though, and that he hopes that the community at large will attend as well.

He said some people might feel apprehensive about coming to an event like this, but Bianca Martinez from the DRC said that the event was for the entire community.

“The event is open to all community members. We hope that students and their families will attend,” Martinez said.

We also welcome local community members seeking advice and support with concerns related to immigration policy.”

Martinez said getting students, their families and the community at large the right information when it comes to immigration status was key for this event.

Martinez also said that despite the fear among people.

It was important for them to know what was currently happening. 

Powers said that although the federal government is going in one direction, the state government has expanded help for people with immigration issues.

Samson said he has high hopes for a program currently waiting approval that would help students in legal aspects.

He said the program would provide legal aid for free to students when it comes to family and immigration law, but that nothing was set in stone as of now.

“Public Charge rules, DACA and the future of immigration policy” event will be Tuesday from noon to 1:30 p.m. in F5-201.

For more information on the event contact or stop in at the DRC in E1-142.

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