Dreamers still waiting for the nightmare to be over

By Quip Johnson

WHAT IS DACA?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a protective administrative relief program which serves to keep undocumented youth from deportation and to provide a legal work permit. DACA approval lasts two years, but allows eligible youth to re-apply after expiration.

To be eligible for DACA, youth had to meet a specific set of guidelines, such as arriving in the US before their sixteenth birthday, attending and graduating an American high school, and never being convicted of a misdemeanor.

 

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT CITY COLLEGE STUDENTS?

According to the Migration Policy Institute, 241,000 DACA-eligible youth were enrolled in college, as of 2014.

California has one of the highest counts of what are known as potential beneficiaries, or immigrants who meet DACA requirements, reporting 539,774 such people. Not all of these potential beneficiaries actually apply for protection. But of those who do, approximately 10,000 graduate college each year, according to USA Today.

 

WHAT DID TRUMP DO?

On Sept. 5, 2017, Donald Trump announced he would be terminating the DACA program, effective March 2018, tweeting, “Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!”

Until March, all DACA recipients should still receive all of their original benefits.

On Sept. 7, Trump tweeted, “For all those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about – No action!”

This nominal “first wave” of DACA expirations can be avoided by application renewal. This process is only available for people who are currently part of the DACA program, and they must renew their status before Oct. 5, 2017. For these people, their new DACA will expire in March 2020.

 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN REGARDING SCHOOL AND TUITION?

One benefit for DACA recipients is the ability to pay in-state tuition instead of being categorized as international students, who face prices almost three times higher.

This allows many students to attend school, whereas the international tuition fees would have made payment impossible.

While the federal Development, Relief and Education, for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act has not been passed by Congress, the state of California released its own CA Dream Act in 2001, comprised of assembly bills AB-540 and AB-2000, which defined these specific undocumented students as in-state applicants who also qualify for financial aid.

 

WHAT SHOULD DACA STUDENTS KNOW?

No new DACA applications are being processed at this time, but it is imperative current DACA recipients, whose statuses expire in March, renew before Oct. 5.

If Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers come to your door, it is important to remember they must present a warrant – either slipped under the door or held up to a window – before you open the door. It is also your right to remain silent, and you are not required to sign any documents. Record any ICE raid via cell phone or another camera to the best of your ability.

After DACA expirations, undocumented students will not be capable of re-entry to America, and as such, anyone studying abroad or traveling, even domestically near border checkpoints, is advised to exercise caution and return home as soon as possible.

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DACA rally in Ram Plaza at the Ocean Campus on September 15, 2017. Photo by Franchon Smith.
DACA rally in Ram Plaza at the Ocean Campus on September 15, 2017. Photo by Franchon Smith.

 

DACA rally in Ram Plaza at the Ocean Campus on September 15, 2017. Photo by Franchon Smith.
DACA rally in Ram Plaza at the Ocean Campus on September 15, 2017. Photo by Franchon Smith.

 

DACA rally in Ram Plaza at the Ocean Campus on September 15, 2017. Photo by Franchon Smith.
DACA rally in Ram Plaza at the Ocean Campus on September 15, 2017. Photo by Franchon Smith.

 

DACA rally in Ram Plaza at the Ocean Campus on September 15, 2017.
DACA rally in Ram Plaza at the Ocean Campus on September 15, 2017. Photo by Franchon Smith.

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