On Oct. 6, California Community Colleges, or the CCC, Interim Chancellor Dr. Daisy Gonzales held a student media teleconference in light of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’s decision on DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA protects eligible immigrants who came to the United States at a young age from deportation.
The court decided that any state that challenged DACA had the right to do so and that President Obama’s decision to pass DACA was unconstitutional.
The appellate court agreed that the United States Department of Homeland Security can continue to accept and approve DACA renewal applications.
Recipients of DACA will not be immediately impacted and can maintain their status. However, no new applicants will be accepted.
Chancellor Gonzales said the CCC system will continue to provide safety and support for undocumented students
“We wanted to send a clear message…at California community colleges, UCs and CSUs..our mission has not changed. We will serve every single student that comes to our doors,” Gonzales said.
“Many of our students who are still living in fear…wonder whether they should renew. Now is that time to renew,” Gonzales said.
The CCC Board of Governors, the Chancellor’s office and the Governor are still committed to working with state officials, along with the CSU and UC systems. Advocacy work will continue to be part of the commitment to provide a permanent path to citizenship for undocumented students.
Through Oct. 17-21, undocumented student action week will be celebrated at all 116 community colleges campuses across California.
With the ongoing protests for permanent solutions for undocumented students, the CCC will use this moment to direct everyone to their federal representatives and display that the system remains open.
Though times are tense for DACA recipients, there are potentially accommodating bills in the works. Two weeks ago, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Monique Límon’s Senate Bill 1141, allows eligible undocumented students to pursue higher education more affordably and efficiently.
The bill will eliminate the two-year cap on credit courses at colleges that count towards the students who are protected by Assembly Bill 540. AB 540 exempts eligible students from paying nonresident tuition and allows them to apply and receive state aid at certain colleges in California.
This will save students time and money and they can avoid taking an unnecessary third year in high school, adult school or community college. Before SB 1141, three years was necessary to meet the time and coursework requirements of AB 540.
Another beneficial bill for undocumented individuals is AB 1766, which grants them access to drivers licenses and ID cards in the state of California.
Additionally, Newsom expanded Medi-Cal, a program that pays for medical services for children and adults with limited resources and income, to all undocumented immigrants aged 24 to 69.
“It’s a really big circle, from being able to access your education, to having a driver’s license, an ID card, to Medicare,…to getting your education much faster. That is how lucky we are to live here in California,” Gonzales said.
The next teleconference will be held on Nov. 3, in which the CCC will talk about Native American Heritage Month among other topics.
Gibran Beydoun is a copy editor for The Express. Follow him @Gibran580MSCM.