The Pioneer, Pierce College Steilacoom's student publication.
6 / CAMPUS Oct. 25, 2017 / Vol. 51, Issue 2 Pending DACA policy change puts students’ future in jeopardy Pierce will continue to support ‘Dreamers,’ director says BY SUYOUNG PARK, Contributing Writer Students, administrators and the legal community are concerned about the recent presidential announcement to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The Obama-era immigration policy, also known as DACA, allowed recipients, to live and work in the U.S. on renewable two-year work-permit authorizations. The program was only a temporary amnesty from deportation for people who entered the United States when they were minors. Through the policy, it gave access to higher education, job and economic opportunities, and participation in community activity. Now those 800,000 recipients of the immigration policy face an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty after the Sept. 5 announcement. They fear deportation from the United States — a threat to the one place many know as their only ‘home.’ Pierce’s education programs director Krissy Kim has seen the struggles of DACA students. She said she has watched and listened as the uncertainty about their future grows. She said Pierce College will continue to support these students in every way possible. “They overcome major obstacles just to gain and retain eligibility without access to federal financial assistance. (We) are committed continuing to serve the DACA students, the ‘Dreamers,’ ” she said. They are commonly referred to as “Dreamers,” based on never-passed proposals in Congress known as the DREAM Act that would have provided similar protections for young immigrants. The DREAM Act — Depiction of family member of a DACA recipient; using his time leisurely. Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors — was a federal proposal that offered many of the same protections as DACA but was never approved in Congress. Mary (whose last name has been withheld) attends Pierce in the Running Start program. As a DACA supporter, she said she encourages her friends in the DACA program to “keep going, keep going.” “It was unfair taking away kids, so young and so small. They had no choice,” Mary by Jon Paul Oledan/ Photo Illustration said about her friends, many who are undocumented 16-year-olds. “It is the only home they know.” She said her friends are in fear — and uncertain about their life after high school. “They obeyed all the laws,” she said about her friends, who to qualify for the program, had to have a clear federal background check before they could be accepted. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who spoke on behalf of President Donald Trump’s administration, said, “We are
piercepioneernews.com CAMPUS / 7 people of compassion and we are people of law. But there’s nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration law. Failure to enforce laws in the past has put our nation at risk of crime, violence, and terrorism. A compassionate thing to do is the end the lawlessness enforce our laws and if congress chose to make changes to those laws, to do so by the process that set forth by our founders in a way that advances the interests of the American people. That is what president has promised to do and has delivered to the American people.” Trump gave Congress six months to come up with a solution before the DACA protections are phased out next year. The Washington State Council of Presidents, Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges, Independent Colleges of Washington and Washington Student Achievement Council issued a statement on Sept. 5, urging Congress to use those six months to pass legislation that will allow students “to continue to contribute to the global competitive environment.” “In Washington, all of our students, regardless of their immigration status, are invaluable to the teaching we provide in our classrooms, the research we perform in our labs, and the discoveries we make in medicine,” part of the statement said. “These students and those who came before them are not strangers on our campuses, in our communities, and in our homes. They are our neighbors, our coworkers, our friends and our family. They are us.” DACA recipient Mia (whose last name has been withheld) is a recent University of Washington graduate who majored in biochemistry. Mia volunteers at a local free clinic where she meets diverse patients, many who were homeless and unemployed. She said she loves that she can do something for the community and help people to get better by working at the clinic’s help desk. And she said her experience at the clinic has influenced her American dream. “My dream is to extend my education and use my education and skills to serve patients,” Mia said, who sister is also pursuing higher education learning at Pierce College under DACA. Nathan Choi, a Seattle attorney who has worked with many DACA recipients, said the policy was never meant to be a permanent solution. “The program could never be a meal replacement,” Choi said, using a cookie analogy to describe the deferred action policy. “That is why it is important to inform the community about the truth of DACA, and encourage their social circles, to vote and be the voices on behalf of the Dreamers. To keep identity(s) safe, these illustrations were created with blurred effects. by Jon Paul Oledan/ Photo Illustration