USC community expresses concern over DACA decision


Adrian Hernandez | Daily Trojan

On Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump formally rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, causing uncertainty and worry for many undocumented students such as sophomore Valeria Resendiz.

“My mom just always told me to not tell anyone about my status because she was afraid people would find out,” Resendiz said. “My parents always tried to keep information from us because they believed that the more we knew that the more it would put us in a vulnerable position.”

President Max C. L. Nikias issued a statement to the USC community on Monday in response to the impending announcement on the DACA program, an immigration policy implemented under the administration of former President Barack Obama in June 2012. The legislation allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of relief from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.

“USC is committed to continuing to work closely with all of our students to ensure that we are meeting their financial and academic needs, particularly those needs that might arise from changes in DACA,” Nikias said in the letter.

However, the rescinding still creates an unclear future for almost 800,000 young adults who are at risk for deportation — some of whom attend USC.

Nikias emphasized his own personal experience in the letter, as both he and his wife immigrated to the U.S., and the impact that American higher education had on his life.

Provost Michael Quick released a memorandum on DACA last week, outlining the legal and financial resources available to students who are DACA recipients. In the memo, Quick tasked Assistant Dean of Religious Life Vanessa Gomez Brake with “navigating and facilitating support resources” at the campus cultural centers. In addition, he pointed students toward the Gould Legal Immigration Clinic and the Financial Aid Office to address any financial or legal conflicts that may come as a result of the decision.

“I want to reaffirm our unequivocal support for everyone in our community, regardless of immigration status or national origin,” Quick wrote in the memo. “We remain committed to our shared values of diversity, inclusion, and non-discrimination.”

Resendiz was born in Mexico but came to the United States when she was less than one year old. Resendiz says she has faced a lot of emotional stress because of her undocumented status. As for the future, Resendiz feels unclear.

“I would like that Congress comes up with something permanent that could find a way to make an immigration reform that would allow everyone an equal chance and the equal opportunities they deserve,” Resendiz said.

For most undocumented and minority students, the cultural centers, such as Asian Pacific American Student Services (APASS), El Centro Chicano and the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs (CBCSA) are a safe haven and a home away from home.

APASS Director Jonathan Wang said the DACA decision hits close to home in the Asian American community.

“[The DACA] decision now has created an environment that is unsafe and reinforces that there is a type of person that the government is focusing on as allowable or as a American,” Wang said.

Statistics show that one in 10 Asian Americans are undocumented, Wang said. He said many of these students are now left confused and wary about what the future looks like.

“I think that overall there is a sense of uneasiness as to how the next six months will look like and whether they will be able to apply,” Wang said. “Six months from now we are not sure what the future looks like. For a lot of these students, parents and communities place a lot of hope on their students being here, and now there are a lot of concerns.”

Marbella Pleitez, a junior studying political economy, felt anxious and conflicted upon hearing the news on DACA. Pleitez was born in El Salvador and came to the United States when she was 8 years old.

“I never knew that being undocumented was going to be a barrier, until I got to college,” Pleitez said. “I faced the language barrier, and I also had to get adjusted to the environment.”

At a young age, Pleitez was confident about her enrollment at a university one day.  But, if it wasn’t for DACA, Pleitez acknowledged she wouldn’t be at USC.

“What would the U.S do without immigrants? Who is going to work in the fields? No — the U.S is in need of us.” Pleitez said.   

  • Valery Gomez

    What gives foreign nationals the right to infiltrate our country and then smuggle in their children so that US taxpayers can subsidize their education?

    • david berl

      Agreed….but blame the parents NOT the kids who have come to know NOTHING other than being Americans…..modify DACA…..give DACA’s RESPOPNSIBLITY ( military service, public service etc ) for them to EARN and ACHIEVE citizenship……..THAT is what is needed………

  • Thekatman

    Unless you have a criminal record or some other major infractions or ties to terrorist organizations like Antifa, BAMN, BLM, ot others, you don’t have anything to worry about. What you do need to do is be sure your paperwork is in order and current. The alt-left media and the Democratic Party are lying to you when they say that President Trump is going to deport law abiding DREAMers. If you read the document that President Trump made available, you’ll know that he is on your side. The illegal executive order that Obama signed is being challenged in the federal court system by many states, and if this issue isn’t addressed via President Trump’s “nudging Congress to act” the courts are going to declare the Obama executive order as illegal and then you’ll be in much more trouble with the risk of deportation. So be happy that we all have a President who has our interests at heart.

    As for Nikias’s story he came here legally.
    If you were so interested in becoming a legal immigrant, why haven’t you applied for citizenship? The threat of deportation the Democrats hold over you is just that, a threat, and meant to manipulate you to hate conservatives. Deportation is not an action that anyone would enforce unless you exhibit criminal behavior. Remember that.

    There are no shortcuts to citizenship, so your path to citizenship will be planned, but you will not get to jump to the front of the line. You will have to go through the process. It is fair and just. Just ask any legal immigrant who did go through the process of legal immigration? Don’t be afraid. Don’t give up, but do make sure your paperwork is up to date, and get your citizenship path started.
    Good luck.

    • JendaStenda

      you make many great points. I am a naturalized citizen, took two years for my parents to complete all the paperwork…had interview with FBI to make sure I was not a Nazi or communist. The whole issue is upside down. Good points you made.