DACA end creates ‘expiration date’ for students

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Alisson Salazar lives with an expiration date.

Next spring her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) benefits are no longer valid, unless renewed by the United States government.

She’s living in limbo.

“What do I do then? My expiration date is March 9,” said Salazar, a Delta College computer science major.

Salazar has seen family members deported without due process. She is hoping her education and life won’t be disrupted in the same way. Salazar fears going back to a country she doesn’t know to start a new life.

“I’m hoping I can find another solution, another path so I can keep going to school and work,” said Salazar.

Hope isn’t lost for students like Salazar. Delta College is helping students in her situation navigate the grey surrounding President Donald Trump’s announcement of the end of DACA.

On Sept. 13 Delta College held a student information and support forum.

Associated Students of Delta College Vice President Chris Donaldson said the event at Danner Hall was to inform Delta students on what DACA is and what those who are eligible for renewal should do with the upcoming deadline.

The end of DACA impacts as many as 800,000 DREAMers.

The campus event brought in speakers with knowledge of the process.

“I did my first years of college here at Delta and it was great to come back to the place that trained me to do what I do … I’m so excited to see that [Delta] has these services and suggest students do reach out to the faculty for help,” said Sarah Torres, a private immigration attorney.

With everyone unsure of what the next six months hold, Delta is encouraging those eligible for renewal to send applications as soon as possible.

“It’s devastating the announcement from the administration. Our organization fully believes that these students and the rest of the 12 million undocumented immigrants are vital and our main focus right now is finding and helping those who are eligible for renewing their DACA one more time,” said Bianca Dueñas, immigration attorney with the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (CRLAF).

The deadline for renewal to be received is Oct 5.

Dueñas said many DACA recipients may be eligible for a more permanent form of immigration relief, although they may not be eligible for renewing DACA benefits.

The DACA renewal application is $495 dollars. The Mission Asset Fund, a non-profit based in San Francisco is offering scholarships to cover the cost of the renewal applications.

“Money shouldn’t be the problem, there are organizations out there willing to help you pay for this,”said Dueñas

The scholarship is set to be processed the same day and if approved.

“Make sure you have your application in. The collection of the administration and staff, we are here,” said Ed Aguilar, Student Equity and Diversity Manager, at the support forum event.

Aguilar is putting an emphasis on making sure students know there are plenty of people on campus willing to help.

“It’s crucial for everyone to know what their rights are …everybody in the United States has rights regardless of immigration status and should know what those rights are and how to enforce those rights … ,” said Dueñas.

Duenas will be available by appointment or walk in, if available, on Monday, Sept. 25 and Oct. 2 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“Our plan is to continue to offer our services here at Delta after the Oct. 5 deadline,” said.

Duenas as she urges students to come for free and confidential consultations.

An on-campus Oct. 9 date is also available for those who can’t renew their DACA status.

Salazar said she’s being forthcoming about her status to build awareness of what’s happening to students in the same situation as her. She is taking a stand.

“I decided to tell everyone because I can’t take the injustice, I can’t just stay silent … I couldn’t sleep the first two days after the announcement … Right now I have the right to be here and I’m going to use that power to find a solution and see what I can do until March 5,” said Salazar.