Undocuweek, we needed you


Students learn during an event for Undocuweek. Photo credit: Janette Estrada

Leaders Educating for the Advancement of Dreamers (L.E.A.D) held “Undocuweek” to inform undocumented students with mixed-status families at Chico State of the current federal and state legislation.

Chico State hosted many workshops with professionals in the field to create a safe environment where individuals could freely express their concerns, questions or insecurities.

To educate myself on recent immigration law updates, I attended a webinar hosted by Teresita Curiel, director of the Dream Center and Latinx Equity and Success. It was presented by Stephanie Delia who is a managing attorney of city council services at City University of New York.

What I learned was aggravating; immigrant families are constantly under attack by the U.S.’s policies that may prevent undocumented students from achieving good things. Here is a quick recap:

In 2012, President Obama passed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to allow individuals who came as children to stay in the country with a two year renewal.

In 2017, President Trump attempted to end DACA.

In 2018, Senate upheld Trump, citing that he cannot take away what has already been given or granted to individuals.

Instead, Trump has proposed changes to the “Public Charge Policy” that would affect immigrants applying for permanent residence. This includes students who are currently dependent on government sustainability such as health insurance or food and housing programs. Unfortunately, this includes the state program CalFresh.

According to the presentation by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs will require a college degree. This means education may no longer be an option, but a requirement. However, with the changes proposed by Trump, students may not be able to secure their education.

Now, allow me to interrupt. Mr. Trump, it is known your goal is to build a wall and secure the border from allowing “criminals” to come into the country. By ending DACA and adding to “Public Charge,” you are going against the initial purpose of your presidential campaign. We want to keep the “good” people, not drive them out.

Instead of proposing new policies against individuals who want good for our country, focus on the “bad hombres” you account for.

Chico State, I applaud you. I applaud you for holding educational workshops like Undocuweek. I applaud you because you are allowing those who are silenced to have a voice.

Undocuweek at Chico State has been a great resource to:

Spread the word. There are many individuals out there who fear deportation and will not have the courage to participate in events that aim to help. Educate yourself. Be an outlet of accurate information that may prompt others to take action.

Share resources. Provide individuals with the support they need. There are many predators out there who will often point others in the wrong direction.

Work together. Connect with school departments to create a more inclusive plan on how to correctly handle undocumented students.

Hold training sessions. Training students and staff to be aware of the difficulties an undocumented student can face is extremely important. They are human and deserve to be treated like such.

The best part is what Chico State can look forward to next:

“Free legal immigration formal assistance next fall,” Curiel said.

Janette Estrada can be reached at [email protected] or @Jane_11e on Twitter