Federal Court Rules DACA unlawful, impacting over half a million ‘dreamers’

Campus Cultural Centers release a joint statement of solidarity amid new ruling

Campus+Cultural+Centers+sign+a+joint+statement+of+solidarity+in+response+to+DACA+ruling.

Courtesy of the Latinx Resource Center at SDSU

Campus Cultural Centers sign a joint statement of solidarity in response to DACA ruling.

by Natali Gonzalez, Staff Writer

A federal appeals court found the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program, which protects “dreamers” who came to the United States as children, to be unlawful. 

On Oct. 5, a panel of three judges from the fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Louisiana, made the decision, which blocks new applicants from receiving DACA benefits but allows renewals to continue to be accepted.

According to Magaly Corro Flores, the Assistant Director of the Undocumented Student Center (URC), the program does not offer a change to immigration status but allows Dreamers to stay in the country for two years without fear of deportation. It also gives “dreamers” social security numbers, allowing them to work in the United States.

Currently, of the 594,000 people enrolled in DACA, 200,000 of them live in California.

“Ultimately, this leaves our students in limbo,” Flores said. “Students are having anxiety and going through challenges every single day and trying to live their lives here. Then they have it in the back of their mind that they can pretty much be kicked out at any point.”

Sara Martinez, a third-year political science major, feels “stuck” due to this new decision.

“I recently submitted my DACA application and all of a sudden the ruling came out,” Martinez said. “Then there’s going to be another hearing next year, but what are we going to do right now? I feel like we’re back at square one.”

Martinez said this ruling causes a significant impact on SDSU students as many will face struggles similar to hers.

Juan Menjivar Reyes, a fourth-year liberal studies major, has a similar viewpoint to Martinez as he believes this ruling will cause students to feel defeated. 

“There’s a lot of students at state that may be undocumented or may have DACA. Our community will definitely feel it,” Reyes said. Many students may feel like giving up after this, it’s been shot after shot after shot, just bouncing back and forth between court rulings.”

All seven campus cultural centers released a joint statement of solidarity via Instagram on Oct. 11 in response to the ruling.

“We must come together to uplift and support our most vulnerable and showcase what it means to be a transborder institution,” the statement said. “Please know that we are here for you, you are not alone, and we will fight forward together.”

The post details what the ruling means and how students can support their “DACAmented siblings.” This includes voting for those who support DACA, contacting current representatives to demand change and being supportive of those who are impacted, especially by listening to them. The statement concludes by sharing resources available to students and including contact information for the URC center.

The Pride Center and Native Resource Center also sent cards and artwork to the URC to show students they are valued and wanted at SDSU.

Flores said the joint statement helps students feel a sense of belonging as undocumented students may be affiliated with any cultural center. Students were also happy with the statement, saying it makes them feel heard, represented, and supported.

While Reyes said he “loved” the statement of solidarity the cultural centers produced, he added that he thinks the statement sent out by SDSU President Adela de la Torre was less meaningful. 

De la Torre released a statement on Twitter in affiliation with the California State Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester and other California State higher-education leaders. In her tweet, de la Torre commits to helping identify solutions that will protect students and give them a pathway to citizenship.

“The administration has pledged their support, but never have we seen the president come in and show support to us,” Reyes said. “They (the administration) call themselves allies, but never really show up. The culture centers come in day after day, just checking in to see how everything’s going — it’s heartwarming.”

Reyes encourages students to show their solidarity to undocumented students by coming in person to the URC and talking to people there.

The URC also offers many resources to students impacted by the new DACA ruling. Flores said the center is collaborating with Jewish Family Services to provide immigration services to students and staff, along with their families. They will be hosting “Know Your Rights” workshops, DACA information sessions, and helping students with legal paperwork. 

More information about the URC resources can be found on their Instagram or their website.