News, Special Projects

Dream Success Center aids undocumented students

By: Rosaura Montes and Renzo Pocasangre

Krupaly Patel, a senior majoring in molecular cell in biology and physiology, had her whole life change when she read a school-wide email about the university’s support for DREAMER students.

Patel’s family typically paid a lawyer over $2,000 apiece for her and her brother to renew their DACA status, until she learned about the Dream Success Center through email. She was able to get the fee covered.

The DSC has resources available on campus for students like Patel who are undocumented.

“We saved so much money from that and I know a lot of undocumented people struggle with financial issues,” Patel said.

The center serves students from different countries all over the world.

“I hope that students feel comfortable coming into our space and asking for support,” said Norma Salcedo, the first full-time DSC director since June 2020.

“We’re here to help students in any way that we can and hopefully [they can] see our friendly faces,” she continued.

Undocumented students and students with tuition exemptions under California Assembly Bill AB540 can receive resources and services at DSC for free. The Butterfly Peer Mentor Program, developed at the DSC in fall 2020, hires CSULB student mentors to support undocumented students in their on-campus experience.

“It was very powerful for us to have that peer-to-peer support,” said Salcedo. “And we’ve seen how many mentees over the years have returned as mentors.”

The immigration legal services available at DSC are free for CSULB students, staff, faculty and their families regardless of immigration status. Alumni who graduated within the past two years can also receive support. Services are available via appointment.

One of the DSC student assistants is International student Lucah Medina Guerra from Mexico City, Mexico, a senior majoring in Molecular Cell Biology. Cal State Long Beach has allowed Medina to prepare for the medical field while working at the Dream Success Center.

“Because I’m an International student, I can only work on campus, so definitely for my first semester I was trying to find a job,” said Medina.

Medina said that he hopes to let more students know about DSC and the employment opportunities for students.

Since learning about the DSC and being part of their Dream Success Incentive Program, Patel doesn’t feel alone.

“People are just very supportive here,” she said. “Whether you’re talking [to] people at the front desk, the director, they always have answers for you.”

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