News — 03 February 2017

Faculty looks to support students struggling with legal issues

By Christopher Hartwell @SILIENCESEEN

If a student goes to see a counselor on campus, they will likely be greeted by a sign reading “Undocumented? You’re not alone. We’re in this together.”

This sign is meant to highlight the issues that affect our peers without a visa or social security number who are concerned that the policies that made their future possible under Obama may be compromised.

This year, there have been some questions as to how safe undocumented students are from deportation or other legal problems.

When speaking to Michelle Zapata, The Express was told there are some real concerns for undocumented students.

“With the potential for DACA to be repealed or not renewed under this current administration, I think undocumented students are more vulnerable than other populations that are targeted for policy changes under the new administration” said Zapata.

Currently there is little room for undocumented students to voice their fears as they have fewer legal choices than those who are citizens or transfer students.

Zapata also said, “In my own opinion, I think some of the policies that the administration has put forward have the potential to hurt and just leave a lot of different populations in our country uncertain again about what the future’s going to bring for them.”

The UCLA labor center estimates that only five to ten percent of undocumented students graduating high school go on to college. Now changes made by the country’s new administration aims at making their journey even harder.

An LPC student who did not wish to reveal her identity said, “I don’t think illegal immigrants should be considered lesser than us. They’re just people who are trying to get an education and are trying to get out of a place that was not habitable.”

While it may be concerning for student directly effected by these changes, other are wondering what can be done to help.

One such student, James Richmond said, “Say they came in and just grabbed someone out of here saying they’re going back to wherever, what could I do? I don’t think I could do anything. Then what is my tool to be able to do something, is it to protest? Because I feel that’s the misguided response.”

For those looking to help their peers or searching for help themselves, there are some resources available. School counselors and professors are available to assist students who are concerned.

“There’s a lot of us not only in counseling but across the campus who are here to listen and help in any way that we can help” said Zapata.

Students are encouraged to contact Michelle Zapata at mzapata@laspositascollege.edu. For information about legal aid and information, visit E4FC.org and MALDEF.org.

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