When President Donald Trump ordered the end of DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, he left thousands of people, or rather, children, scared, confused and a little angry.
Trump’s plans to end DACA would leave some of the 800,000 young adults brought to the United States illegally as children, and who qualify for the program, eligible for deportation as early as March, according to an article in The New York Times.
While schools do not track students’ DACA status, Maria Blanco, director of immigrant legal services at nine of the University of California’s campuses, said in The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on inequality and innovation in education, that of the 74,000 undocumented students attending schools in California, 60,000 of them attend a California community college and 70 to 80 percent of them have DACA.
The important thing, however, is that California schools have a message for Trump: their students are their students no matter their immigration status. And at a time like this, this is exactly what they need to know.
As these students are racked with worry and frustration about how the fate of their entire life hangs in the air, the support they receive from their college campuses is crucial to let them know that, at the very least, they have allies in their schools.
On Unity Day here on campus, Cosumnes River College President Edward Bush spoke out to reassure students on where CRC stands in these unsure times.
“For those of you students who have been directly affected by the DACA decision, I want to encourage you that CRC and the Los Rios Community College District is a safe space and a safe place, that we’re committed to make sure that we don’t share any information other than the information we need to share for educational purposes and that the best place to be is in school, so we encourage you to continue to take classes,” Bush said.
The Los Rios Police Department even sent out a notice reassuring students that the LRPD officers are “focused on your safety and not your immigration status.”
Knowing that our campus is speaking up so openly in defense of DACA recipients makes me feel proud to be apart of it. I realize again how lucky I am to be in a place, here in California, in Sacramento, at CRC, that will stand up and do the right thing in the face of adversity.
The environment the school is creating can help put these students at ease. They can feel safe knowing that their professors have their backs, that their faculty will do what they can to help them, that their police officers want to protect to them and don’t see them as a threat. When our country’s leader and his followers want to tear these students away from everything they have worked so hard to achieve, it is so important for our schools to stand up and say that they won’t let them.
These students are here for an education, an education they want to receive so that they can become functioning, employable and contributing citizens for the only country that they know, love and call home.
If our government cannot understand that then, at the very least, it is a comfort to know that our educators do.