Written by Danielle Hagerty
In the recent political climate, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has become one of the biggest topics up for debate. This is a very complex issue as of late and also a disagreeable one. There are many misconceptions, difficulties and levels of fear that come with those directly affected by DACA. Many use the term “Dreamer”, which comes from another policy created to ensure citizenship and protection for all youth, called the Dream Act. More specifically, this issue greatly affects many of those among us at Front Range Community College Westminster Campus.
DACA is a fairly new action plan, approved by President Barack Obama in 2012. This initiative allows application renewal every two years for immigration status for minors who have come to the United States without citizenship.
The Deferred Action agreement comes with a variety of rules to be followed and criteria to be fit into. A few examples from the United States Immigration Service are age requirements and education status. The service specifically states that, in order to be eligible for DACA, the individual’s age must not exceed 31 years as of 2012. Graduating high school, or receiving a GED within the U.S. are also some of the many requirements that apply.
Currently, DACA is in a sort of limbo, due to the new administration. On the FRCC admissions page, it states, “The Trump administration announced that they will rescind the order. Under the order, there can be no new registrants for DACA, but current DACA recipients appear to have protection for the time remaining on their DACA award.”
To a Dreamer, this brings a great amount of uncertainty for the present and the future. At FRCC, these worries are often financial or safety-related.
Cathy Pellish, Westminster campus vice president, spoke about the effect the current state of DACA has on the student body.
“What we really want as an institution is to be conscious of the many cases of unseen disruption, pain and uncertainty that may be impacting our students,” said Pellish.
Academic advisor Annette Micho has worked closely with many students, including many Dreamers. Paying for college tuition is not an easy task, even with financial aid. One might assume that it is difficult to succeed as a student when a source of income can be so hard to come by
“They do not qualify for financial aid,” stated Micho. “There is no available Colorado grant, but there are small amounts of scholarships that do come through, and we hope to receive more in the future.”
Though dreams may seem a little bit out of reach in times like these, there is still hope. The Colorado Legislature signed an approval for Advancing Students for a Stronger Tomorrow, in April 2013. ASSET gives students that are dreamers, or undocumented here in Colorado, the opportunity to pay for in-state tuition.
“Our goal is to provide an amazing experience for all of our students,” said Micho. “Our goal is to educate our community, and those students are also a part of our community.”
Currently the issue concerning DACA in Congress has not been resolved. There have been at least three attempts to vote on the bill, and all three times there was a result in rejection to DACA. It is perceived that the uncertainty of resolve on DACA will likely go on past March 5th, 2018. There are very firm, and extreme beliefs on this bill. It is still a mystery when Congress and the judicial system may find some resolution.
In the meantime staff and students of FRCC continue to make a place our campus a safe and welcome one. This is a campus that provides opportunities for dreamers to achieve their educational goals, despite the political uncertainty.