On Monday, President Trump announced he would fulfill his campaign promise to remove the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, letting down many after a tense Labor day weekend of waiting.
Protesters popped up around the country, with Los Angeles and New York taking center stage. But Cal State Long Beach students wouldn’t go unnoticed, with just short of 100 people coming out to voice their displeasure with the decision.
Sociology major Gedahin Kassaz was disappointed in the announcement, and marched Tuesday with the crowd.
“It’s a terrible thing that DACA is being shut down,” she said. “Because it’s proven how beneficial it can be for the education system.”
CSULB student Joseph Jackson came out Tuesday as well. Jackson said that his undocumented friend, also a CSULB student who wished not to be named, had a somber experience with his mother.
“His mom is telling him to get married now so that he can get citizenship,” Joseph Jackson said. “He’s only 19!”
The program, started in 2012 by an Executive Order from former President Obama, was put into place mostly due to a lack of funding. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) didn’t have the money or manpower to deport the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the country at the time. DACA was a tactical response to the situation, with DHS focusing its resources in a more effective way.
The protest was organized with the help of La Raza Student Association and Future Underrepresented Educated Leaders CSULB, a student organization for AB-540 students, or non-residents who get help paying tuition from the state.
Under DACA, people who met the requirements were able to apply for deferred status. One of the ways undocumented residents could fulfill these requirements was being enrolled in school. This was never a guarantee of citizenship, but in essence put some to the “back of the line” in terms of being a priority.
“I have friends in DACA and this could really affect their education,” said Eder Vasquez, psychology major. “All they’ve worked for could be down the drain.”
Those with deferred status had to pay $495 to apply, and would have to reapply every two years. And if they ever want to travel abroad, including back to their home country, they have to pay another $575 and fill out more paperwork just for the chance.
President Jane Close Conoley addressed the decision to terminate DACA via an email en masse sent to all CSULB students and faculty. In her email, Conoley aimed to extend resources and information to students impacted by this action, stating that while DACA’s future was questionable — the AB540 status provided to eligible undocumented people by the state of California will not be affected.
“The change in national policy is disheartening,” Conoley wrote in her email. “When signing up for DACA our students and colleagues believed the information they provided to the federal government would afford them an opportunity to work and learn free from fear of deportation.”
In spite of its problems, the program itself has been popular and successful, with a recent Politico poll showing over 75 percent of Americans are against deporting those with deferred status.
Many felt the decision was unfairly targeting those that are undocumented.
“How can the Trump Administration say ‘we are for DACA students,’” asked Councilman Robert Uranga. “And forgive a sheriff [Arpaio] who disavowed all rules and profiled us, profiled me?”
Of the 800,000 current residents with deferred status, over 200,000 live here in California according to DHS. Another 500,000 are estimated to be eligible for the program, but have not signed up for one reason or another.
Staff writers Hunter Lee, Cheantay Jensen and Joel Vaughn contributed to this story.