On campus, as classes begin to progress toward the end of the fall semester, many students, both at Cypress and around California, see their futures hang in the balance as our legislature weighs potential resolutions to the expiration of DACA.
Nearly two months have passed since the Trump Administration decided to rescind the Obama era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) and with every passing day of congressional deadlock, the occasion for this immigration fix grows larger.
At Cypress, Eric Choung, a 20-year-old engineering student at Cypress College, expressed sympathy towards those affected by the recession of DACA. “While this legal designation isn’t necessarily the best way of dealing with our immigration issues, DACA really helped improve the lives of those enrolled,” he stated.
Other students on campus have brought up concerns with not only the program itself but also the legislative circumstances that created it. James Tran, a 26-year-old business student at Cypress College, lamented the way in which DACA was enacted. “The legal grounds upon which Obama passed this executive order were shaky at best” he said. “The role of the president is not to propose and pass legislation independent of the Congress; we have a separation of powers for a reason.”
Since its inception in June of 2012, over 800,000 individuals were enrolled in and protected by DACA; with information from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) estimating that over a quarter of those 800,000 people reside in California. With this new legal designation given to them by DACA, these individuals were able to find employment and get an education.
Analysis from the Center for American Progress, a public policy and research group, shows that more than 90 percent of DACA recipients are employed and just about 45 percent are in school. The future of these people; their lives, jobs and educational prospects, will be impacted by the decision of the Trump administration to end the DACA.
The same cannot be said for DACA recipients living and going to school in California. As reported by the Los Angeles Time the morning of Nov. 1st, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed a motion that, if successful, could halt Trump’s efforts to end the DACA program. Official estimates from the Migration Policy Institute conclude that of the over 200,000 people with DACA status living in California, over 71,000 of them attend public colleges and universities in California, with the vast majority (60,000) attending community colleges.
Officials from every level of the California post-secondary public education system have rallied to support DACA recipients. In her email, sent out the night of the DACA recession, Dr. JoAnna Schilling, Cypress College’s President, expressed not only her commitment, but the school’s commitment to protecting DACA recipient. “I am proud of the work we do here at Cypress College, and our commitment to ensuring our students have a safe and supportive environment” she wrote in her email sent to all members of the faculty and student body. “We are committed to exploring avenues to help address the needs and concerns of students.”
At the moment, the only certainty is that this picture will clear up. The Trump Administration’s decision to end the DACA program means that Congress has 90 days (from the date of rescission) to patch things up. Many are skeptical of congress’s ability to govern, let alone fix this complicated political issue. Just as Schilling states in her email “While details continue to emerge, we hope by sharing facts, we can reduce the anxiety some in our community may be feeling.”