USC IDEAS Movement, an organization that supports undocumented students and those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, unveiled a banner near Tommy Trojan Wednesday that read “Fight on 4 DACA #HomeIsHere” to stand in solidarity with DACA recipients across the country.
More than 50 banner drops were held at campuses across California ahead of a Supreme Court decision next month that will determine whether DACA — a policy that was implemented by former President Barack Obama in 2012 to protect people who immigrated to the U.S. when they were children from deportation — will be allowed to continue.
Melody Klingenfuss, the California Dream Network State organizer with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, said the event helps spread awareness before Nov. 12, when the Supreme Court will begin the judicial review of the Trump administration to end DACA.
She has worked on mobilizing other campuses, such as LA Trade Tech, UC Davis and UC Merced.
“We got so lucky that we got to activate USC on Monday, and they jumped right on,” said Klingenfuss, who graduated from the Price School of Public Policy in 2017. “USC IDEAS came out full-force with their members.”
She emphasized that getting students to talk about and engage in immigrant rights is essential for humanizing DACA recipients.
“We don’t want our parents to be criminalized, we’re here as human beings,” she said. “DACA is just the first layer of the cake. Our ultimate goal is still immigration reform.”
Kimberly Alvarado, assistant director of the IDEAS Movement, helped organize the event and hopes that it helped educate more students on the issues facing those with DACA status. Alvarado, a senior majoring in social sciences, said she thought it was important to bring awareness to an issue that most USC students are not exposed to.
“A lot of the people who attend USC are not Latinos, are not immigrants, [so we’re here to] bring awareness to that, that there are people in their classes that have DACA or have family members that have DACA,” she said.
Jose Hernandez, a sophomore majoring in biochemistry, is a vocal supporter of DACA students and heard about the event through a Latinx Student Assembly meeting.
“I just thought it would be nice to come out and support like other students that were with them,” Hernandez said. “I feel like with this banner, students should be more aware of the uncertainty that comes with being undocumented … like waiting for someone else to decide what should happen.” In that future, Hernandez hopes that legislation can help improve the lives of undocumented students.
Miguel Moran, a sophomore majoring in applied and computational mathematics, said he hopes that USC students will support their peers who hold DACA status, especially as the Supreme Court is set to decide their fate next month.
“It’ll help uplift the students because obviously, people’s livelihoods are at risk right now, so I guess coming out to support in events like this gives people a sort of sense of relief,” Moran said.
Klingenfuss said IDEAS welcomes both undocumented students and U.S. citizens and encourages students from all backgrounds to come together and support their peers who have DACA status.
“We need U.S. citizens to step up and use their privilege as citizens of this country to defend folks that are being oppressed by this administration,” she said. “That’s the easiest way to get involved.”