DACA Students Worry Day by Day

xBy Marcos Hung Santander

President Donald Trump campaigned on tough immigration laws and he has already enacted tough orders affecting immigrants. Students at College of Southern Nevada who have DACA status are concerned they will be deported.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, provides protection against deportation and allows students to work and go to school; however, it does not provide legal status. It was enacted under former President Barack Obama but now it is in the hands of Trump. It is unknown if he will keep that executive order and allow DACA students to stay.

“We’re going to show great heart,” said Trump, in a press conference on Feb. 16 held at the White House. “DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me; I will tell you. To me, it’s one of the most difficult subjects I have, because you have these incredible kids, in many cases—not in all cases. In some of the cases they’re having DACA and they’re gang members and they’re drug dealers too. But you have some absolutely incredible kids—I would say mostly— they were brought here in such a way. It’s a very, very tough subject.”

“Before DACA I wasn’t able to do anything that I’m able to do now,” said Fernando Lopez Duran, DACA student at CSN. “I couldn’t get a driver’s license. I couldn’t find a job. I really couldn’t do anything.” Duran benefited from his status that allowed him to pursue his education at CSN. He is nervous about what’s to come.

Brenda Romero, former CSN student, attended the College because of DACA. “It’s definitely nerve wracking and I’m scared. Every day I wake up and I don’t want to look at the news and I don’t want to look at social media,” Romero said. DACA allowed her to work and help support her family so if her status changed, it would affect her life.

According to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on a report dated June 2016, there were 21,589 approved applications for DACA status in Nevada, including initial and renewal submissions. Some of these approved attend CSN.

CSN’s President Michael Richards stated in his Dec. 9 blog address, “In the current political climate, many of the nation’s students, faculty and college and university leaders have expressed concern about the future of undocumented individuals and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that permits young undocumented immigrants to remain and work in the United States for two years at a time without fear of deportation. While existing policies and procedures at CSN protect the privacy and safety of our students, faculty and staff, there are students who have real concerns about their future.”

Maria Marinch, executive director of the Department of Community Relations, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs along with faculty and staff at CSN help students stay informed with up-to-date information because things are changing often.

As of now, there is no certainty what will happen with DACA. Students are hoping for the best. “Every little change that happens, it could affect me, my parents and it is affecting my community,” Romero said. “Yes, I’m scared but it is also giving me the extra drive to keep fighting.”

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