by Julia Katsman
The clock ticks as young people wait for Congress to act and create a new DACA program. President Trump announced that he would give Congress six months to pass legislation to preserve DACA before it gets terminated. In the meantime, at The City College of New York, there’s an effort to help students whose legal status is threatened.
DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is a program former President Obama created in 2012. It offers undocumented immigrants two years of amnesty and the right to get a Social Security number, to work, and to go to college. Eight hundred thousand young people could lose their legal status if the program is permanently withdrawn.
These people now wait in fear of the decision to come. Will the benefits of the DACA program be terminated? Or will Congress come up with a fair way to provide Dreamers with similar benefits?
CCNY opposes the repeal of DACA. According to Interim President Vince Boudreau, there are three ways that CCNY is currently trying to give aid. The first way is through protest — both in person and in the written word. Students and faculty will hold assemblies, and spread the word outside the campus. The second way that CCNY is trying to help is by applying pressure on elected officials. The plan is to create massive public resistance against the termination of DACA rights. The third way is to offer protection, encouragement, and support to the Dreamers.
Boudreau said, “If at any time an immigration official enters our buildings or calls one of our phone lines — inquires in any way after any of our students–every single one of us must respond only by referring the inquiry to Executive Counsel to the President, Paul Occhiogrosso.” In addition, the campus offers help via the City College Immigration Center.
Students also created after-class clubs in support of Dreamers. One of these clubs is called the CCNY Dream Team. The team is dedicated to the cultivation of relationships to empower and educate different immigrant groups within the CCNY community.
The founder of the CCNY Dream Team explained,“The main purpose of this club is to give undocumented students and their allies a safe haven to meet, discuss issues that are affecting the CCNY community and advocate for fair immigration policies. The team works to educate the student body, faculty and staff about issues affecting the immigrant community at City College and inform students of opportunities, such as scholarships and internships.”
The City College hopes that DACA students will feel safe and supported by the campus community.
Originally published at ccnyintroductiontojournalism.com on October 10, 2017.