By Usra Ali @USRAALIMSCM31
With the new president-elect Donald Trump, some people are worried about what may happen to the undocumented immigrants of this country, following his anti-immigrant remarks. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, was created after a rapid increase of undocumented students in high school and college back in June 2012.
The DACA program helps prevent immigrant students from being deported and allows them to succeed in the United States. It’s an American immigration policy ordered by Barack Obama as an executive action that allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to renew a two-year work permit and prevent them from facing deportation.
Trump stated in a post-election interview that he plans to deport two to three million undocumented immigrants when he takes office.
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminals and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers” and mentioned that they would be incarcerated. He followed up by saying, “But we’re getting them out of our country. They’re here illegally,” he said in an interview on 60 Minutes.
Michelle Gonzales, a faculty member in the English department at Las Positas College, states, “One thing I do know is that the DACA students have a major reason to be concerned now that Trump has been elected, as they have handed over their personal information, addresses and all that to the government in order to participate in the program, and so the US government has this information. The concern is that this information could be used to deport students, should Trump decide to do that.”
The Academic Senate of Las Positas College is working to assure that the LPC campus is a safe space for all students.
A draft resolution prepared for the Las Positas College Academic Senate states, “The Las Positas College Mission Statement described Las Positas as ‘an inclusive learning-centered institution.’” This draft resolution also states, “The values of Las Positas College include, ‘Promoting ethical behavior, tolerance, and mutual respect in a diverse community.’”
According to the statement, the college faculty acknowledge the surge of hate speech in schools across the Bay Area, including racist flyers posted at Las Positas College following the election results. The college faculty assures that they “bear responsibility to teach and model inclusivity and respect” as well as “combat prejudice and hate-speech in our classrooms and through our work as educators.”
In a letter written to President-elect Donald Trump on Nov. 29, incoming California Community College Chancellor Eloy Oritz Oakley, as well as the heads of UC’s and CSU’s, formally asked Trump to continue the DACA program. Oakley states, “DACA is rooted in the fundamental premise that no one should be punished for the actions of others.”
He followed up by saying, “The University of California, California State University, and the California Community College systems each have thousands of DACA students studying at our institutions. They are constructive and contributing members of our communities. They should be able to pursue their dream of higher education without fear of being arrested, deported, or rounded up for just trying to learn.”
Starting Dec. 19, Oakley will take over as chancellor of the nation’s largest system of higher education.
The “#WithDACA” hashtag on Twitter displays tweets by immigrant students in America explaining what they were able to achieve with the help of the program. The DACA program has helped many immigrants go to college, get a job, buy a car or donate to charities.
According to “The Economic Impacts of Removing Unauthorized Immigrant Workers” study by the Center for American Progress, the government would lose about $433.4 billion if Trump chose to end the DACA program.
The chances of the DACA program ending are still unclear. However, with Trump’s promise to deport millions of immigrants, many students and educators are preparing for that possibility.