By Alexander Valdez
Pulse Staff Reporter
Close to one million young immigrants, including 87 recorded Palo Alto College students, face the threat of deportation as the debate over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals continues.
Former President Barack Obama created DACA through Executive Order in 2012 to help people who came into the U.S. illegally as minors to be protected from deportation. In September of 2017, President Donald Trump and his administration officially announced their plan to end the DACA program. With this decision, nearly 800,000 individuals enrolled in the program are awaiting a plan to sustain their rights and avoid deportation.
The current status of DACA remains unclear with the latest decision made by the Supreme Court to not proceed with the Trump administration’s appeal. This means the program will last through at least the fall, also giving Congress more time to come up with a permanent solution.
Darrio Galindo, a freshman Info Technology major, is still troubled by how many lives could possibly be altered if Congress does not act.
“I have friends on the program. They’re worried they might not be able to work or go to school in the near future, maybe even have to leave the country they’ve lived in their entire life. The whole thing is just sad,” said Galindo.
The Alamo Colleges District is one of the largest community college systems in Texas with a student body that is approximately 61 percent Hispanic. Of this percentage, nearly 1,000 DACA recipients enrolled at the Alamo Colleges fear they may not be able to continue their studies because of the government’s inability to compromise on a plan.
Kinesiology major Darren Morales believes that the only people taking this seriously are the ones being directly affected.
“Something this important shouldn’t be taking so long to fix, and it’s crazy how this topic is even up for debate,” said Morales.
Fear and sadness are common feelings in households of DACA recipients. Many live day-to-day worrying whether or not the rights granted to them by the DACA program will continue.
According to The Center for American Progress, the deportation of immigrants would cause a loss of $460.3 billion from the national Gross Domestic Product and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions over the next decade.
Carmen Velásquez, advising team leader, said Palo Alto College and other local clubs/organizations are holding information sessions for students and families to answer any questions or concerns they may have.
“We have started holding monthly sessions so that anyone stressed about their immigration status can come to just talk and express themselves as well as feel safe and comfortable,” said Velásquez.
Palo Alto will also begin to train faculty and staff to become advocates and allies to students as well as to provide them with any knowledge or recourses they may need.
National organizations are also available for anyone to access via website. Visit United We Dream, Accesso Latino as well as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website for more information.
Carmen De Luna-Jones, offsite coordinator for the DREAMers Advisory Council, believes strongly in a positive future.
“Our mission is to empower all our students, undocumented or not, to obtain their education and to create a better future,” said Luna-Jones.
The future of the DACA recipients is unclear at the moment, but a great sense of hope remains. PAC will continue to give DACA students the aid they need and will stand with them in their fight for rights and citizenship.