On Tuesday morning, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announced on behalf of the Trump Administration that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program that gives 800,000 undocumented youth access to education and work, is to be terminated unless Congress can find a legislative solution within six months.
The announcement states that no new DACA applications will be considered but that current enrollees can apply for renewal by October 5th, 2017 if their permits expire before March 5th, 2018.
The program, which was signed as an executive order by President Obama in 2012, allows children of undocumented immigrants to sign up for 2 year work permits and avoid deportation, granted they meet specific requirements. According to the Pew Research Center, over 220,000 of the of the “dreamers” enrolled in the program reside in California, the largest number of from any other state.
“This program has helped […] more than 1,100 here at PCC,” said Superintendent President, Dr. Rajen Vurdien, in statement released to students, faculty, and staff on campus. “We will defend to the full extent of the law everyone who studies at PCC.”
Though this national announcement is set in motion to affect undocumented youth around the United States, Dr. Vurdien has made it clear that “[it] has not changed [PCC’s] dedication” to continue to support and provide resources to DACA recipients on campus.
“Me having DACA helps my parents in so many different ways,” said DACA recipient, Ximena Salinas-Montalvo. An aspiring actress and broadcaster, Salinas-Montalvo worries about what’s next in her life. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t know if I should drop my classes and keep working so [my family and I] have enough money later on to keep supporting for whatever we need. I’m just stressed,” said Salinas-Montalvo.
As a DACA recipient, Salinas-Montalvo has been able to pursue acting, continue her studies, and provide for her family, especially since she is the only one in her family able to work legally. Though this termination hinders her future, Salinas-Montalvo will continue to fight for her rights and other DACA recipient’s rights as well.
“We need to prove to them that we are more than what they believe we are to be. We are here to study, we are here to work, [and] we are here to contribute. I think that people who don’t support DACA should take that into consideration.”
PCC has a history of proactively responding to this administration’s threats to immigrants. In March of 2016, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution that stated that PCC “is committed to providing a safe, secure and supportive environment for all students.”
The policy came after increased concerns about the presence of ICE agents on campus and the release of students’ immigration status.
In addition, PCC has offered and will continue to offer resources for DACA recipients uncertain of what to expect from this announcement. The Safe Zones Coalition, a group on campus dedicated to help marginalized communities, is offering support and providing information to any questions regarding DACA.
Other places to seek support and resources include the Admissions & Records office, Career Center, and Psychological Services.