‘This just isn’t right’: Uncertainty remains for UC Berkeley’s dreamers as DACA renewal deadline arrives

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Daniel Kim/File

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Although dozens of UC Berkeley students protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program have submitted their applications for renewal by the Oct. 5 deadline, uncertainty looms in the undocumented community about the future of the program.

The Trump administration announced its intent to repeal DACA on Sept. 5. DACA, an immigration policy established by the Obama administration in 2012, allows undocumented people who entered the United States as minors to live, work and study legally in the country. With the announcement of the repeal, recipients of DACA, whose permits are set to expire between the announced rescission of the program and March 5, 2018, were given until Oct. 5 to file for renewal.

Meng So, director of the UC Berkeley Undocumented Student Program, said in an email that the campus program has helped about 60 students with DACA renewals since the repeal was announced, with all application expenses covered. At UC Berkeley, about 400 undocumented students are recipients of DACA, and of the approximately 4,000 undocumented students in the entire UC system, a “substantial number” benefit from DACA, according to UC spokesperson Stephanie Beechem.

“(The deadline is) causing a lot of anxiety within the community. People are really nervous,” said Shiori Akimoto, DACA program coordinator for the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant. “We are really nervous as well, because we don’t know what’s going to happen to our clients when they lose their DACA status.”

The East Bay Sanctuary Covenant assisted roughly 80 to 85 people with the renewal of their permits over the past month, Akimoto said. According to Akimoto, many of the covenant’s clientele are students at local colleges and universities — and a few of them are UC Berkeley students.

A letter sent to the UC community Sept. 12 by UC President Janet Napolitano and all 10 UC chancellors urged eligible DACA recipients to file for the two-year renewal. The letter also affirmed the UC’s intent to continue offering in-state tuition to undocumented California residents, as well as eligibility for financial assistance and loans, legal services and campus-based student service centers.

Arturo Fernandez, an undocumented campus doctoral student, said in an email that he believes the Oct. 5 deadline did not grant undocumented people enough time to “get their house in order.” Fernandez estimated that starting March 6, 2018, about 1,400 DACA recipients will lose their DACA status and work authorizations every day.

“This just isn’t right,” Fernandez said in his email. “People who have worked hard and become embedded in America’s fabric are being sidelined because of partisan politics.”

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Salma Mayorquin, an undocumented campus senior and DACA recipient, said she believes the future of DACA is “unstable.” Anissa Nishioka/File.

Although Fernandez said he felt the deadline should be pushed back, he commended the “tremendous response” he has seen among community organizations in light of the DACA repeal and the range of resources they have offered undocumented students.

Salma Mayorquin, an undocumented campus senior and DACA recipient, said in an email that she visited the East Bay Community Law Center’s office hours on campus to get assistance with her renewal application. According to Mayorquin, the center filled out the application for her and paid the $495 fee, which she said allowed her to continue focusing on school without worrying about payment or making mistakes.

Mayorquin added that she believes the future of DACA is “unstable” and that the “rug has been pulled from under” the undocumented community. According to Mayorquin, serious immigration reform will be necessary in the future to turn DACA into a permanent solution.

“What I can say is that no matter what the future holds, we as a community will stand together, fight for each other, and protect one another,” said Kris Ordonez, peer academic counselor at the UC Berkeley Undocumented Student Program, in an email.

Contact Cade Johnson at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @cadejohnson98.

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  • garyfouse

    Trump has told Congress to deal with this as it should have from the beginning. It is Congress’ responsibility to pass or change our immigration laws. Obama did not have the authority to give an entire class of people a pass from the law.

    Certainly we can feel sympathy for those who truly were brought here as children by their parents illegally. However, that is not our fault. If you can work with ICE and regularize your staus great. But you are still not in the country legally and should not be so demanding. You will only lose popular support that way.

    Today we had a DACA demonstration in Los Angeles that the police declared an unlawful assembly. Traffic was blocked by protesters, and they were not happy about it. That’s no way to solve your problems.

  • rychastings

    they do realize they entered the country illegally right?

  • hoapres

    We wouldn’t have this problem if other countries got their act together getting away from failed socialist policies.

    • lspanker

      And if we didn’t implement our own failed socialist policies, like rewarding our own citizens not to work which provides a lure for a lot of these illegal aliens in the first place. As much as I see illegal immigration as a detriment (and fully agree with building a wall and prosecuting employers who knowingly hire illegals) I don’t blame the illegals personally – I blame the goo-goo liberals who have created such a bunch of screwy incentives for them to come here in the first place, such as giving them college scholarships…

      • hoapres

        I don’t have a problem with the illegals on a personal basis but have a problem with our government allowing them here in the first place.

        • lspanker

          Agreed…

  • hoapres

    ICE should have shown up at the Sproul Hall rally and do a roundup.

  • Grandfatheredin

    If someone breaks the law, like illegal entry, then someone else helps them, like the UC system, isn’t that aiding and abetting a criminal, a crime in itself? These non Americans are taking up 4000 spots in the UC system that should be for Americans. It’s unbelievable to me that they get in state tuition. This means that it’s cheaper to go to UC if you are from Mexico that it is if you are and American from another state. California is also spending lots of money fighting the Fed’s on the immigration issue. It’s like my Fed tax dollars and my state tax dollars are fighting each other and getting wasted in the process.

    • hoapres

      Right

      When you talk to these liberal types and point out “Remember 1986!”, the liberals don’t want to remember.

      We had an amnesty and brought even more illegals. Now they want to do it again.

      • BerCaley

        Were you home schooled?

        What about the Naturalization Act of 1790? The Steerage Act of 1819? The Chinese exclusion law of 1882? Japanese restriction in 1907? The bracero program in 1943 (something was happening in 1943. What was it?) Chinese exclusion was repealed. War brides in 1946! Yay! Refugees in 1948. But no Communists in 1950. But more refugees in 1953. Et cetera.

        Seriously dude. We have a long history of legal and illegal immigration in this country. It was built by immigrants legal and illegal. Dunno what you did in your life to judge others. Must have been big.

        Signed, liberal type.

        • hoapres

          That was then.

          This is now.

        • lspanker

          What ABOUT them? Nobody here is advocating restricting immigration on the basis of race or ethnicity. Some of us DO believe, however, that our immigration policy should benefit the overall needs of our country, not the need of Democrats to sign up more people to the voter/welfare rolls.

        • Kurt VanderKoi

          REQUIRED READING FOR BerCaley

          “Congress has complete authority over immigration. Presidential power does not extend beyond refugee policy.”

          “The President retains the ultimate decision making authority when determining the number of refugees to allow into the country during a given year.”

          https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/immigration

          • BerCaley

            So I read your cite. You conveniently left out the next sentence in your opinion piece:

            “Except for questions regarding aliens’ constitutional rights, the courts have generally found the immigration issue as nonjusticiable.”

            Nonjusticiable for our home schooled friends (HOA, Spanker, you, …) means that the Courts refuse to side with either the Executive or Legislative branches and leave it to them to settle on their own. It becomes a political question.

            So no one is questioning the Constitutionality of Cheeto’s Executive Order going forward. And y’all can’t question the Constitutionality of President Obama’s Executive Order going back. It was questioned in court by no less a Constitutional authority than Joe Arpaio. The Court said “Dude, you so have no standing here” and threw the case out.

            Deal with it.

          • Kurt VanderKoi

            “Congress has complete authority over immigration.”

          • BerCaley

            Now you’re coming off as an idiot.

            First, what you are quoting is a summary by Cornell. It is not law.
            Second, you didn’t quote the relevant part. That’s pretty much lying in my book.
            “the courts have generally found the immigration issue as nonjusticiable.”

            Republicans had their opportunity and they availed themselves of that opportunity to sue the Obama Administration in Federal Court. They did. They lost. Deal with that. Don’t like it? Deal with it anyway. They had the opportunity to pass legislation overruling President Obama. They didn’t. Deal with that too.

            I’m not questioning the legality of Cheeto’s Executive Order. I will question your morality and his. That’s a separate matter. But right now, you’re in the idiot category.

            How are your Russian lessons coming along?

          • Kurt VanderKoi

            Qizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Time

            Name the Three Branches of Federal Government?

            Name the Functions of Each Branch?

            How Does A Bill Becomes A Law?

          • BerCaley

            Dude, you already failed your test. You cited a Cornell opinion piece as law and didn’t even correctly cite the relevant passage. So I can’t help you understand Separation of Powers or its history in the Roman Republic. What’s hilarious is that y’all get all Federal on me when usually you get States Rightsy. Arpiao goes Sovereign Sheriff which is even funnier.

            The Courts ruled. Y’all lost. Deal with it.

            So I’ll give you half a point for originality but that’s it.

  • hoapres

    Peace follows Victory and not the other way around. You can’t reason with liberals (or a good many of them) because no matter what you give a liberal they want MORE.

    Let’s see.

    Didn’t we try with a conservative President in 1986 to work with liberals on immigration. We did an amnesty and still got more illegals. Now 30 years later they want to do it again.

  • hoapres

    Tough Luck.

    If you are an illegal then you must be deported.

    Problem solved.

  • Pelosi’s Derrière

    Go home – no one is above the law.

  • Charles Edward Brown

    NO AMNESTY and NO DEALS. President Trump promised to end the traitor Obama’s illegal DACA. We need ICE to begin arresting and deporting DACA illegal aliens and their families.

  • tasam1

    Have the DACAs thought that their parents entering the US illegally just isn’t right. And, when the DACAs became young adults were still illegal aliens. President Trump promised to end DACA and deport. DACA ended Sept. 5. Start deporting now.

    • Charles Edward Brown

      Agreed