Anger, uncertainty reign at UC Berkeley after Trump ends DACA

Yukun Zhang /Staff

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Jose Carranza, a campus freshman, stood before a group of about 100 people Tuesday evening with a megaphone to his mouth as he told the group of strangers that he is the youngest of eight children raised by a single mother after his father was deported from the United States.

Carranza was at a By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, rally opposing President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, with a six-month delay in enforcement. After a weekend of uncertainty regarding the program’s future, Trump’s decision was met with anger and resistance from the Berkeley community and across the country.

Woodland Community College freshman Jose Montes, who also attended the BAMN rally Tuesday evening, is an undocumented student who was formerly protected under the DACA program. He described the difficulties of not being able to work for the money he needed for his school tuition and to support his family after his DACA eligibility had expired. Having come to the United States as a child, Montes barely remembers the country he was born in.

“My first memory is in the U.S.,” Montes said. “You ask me what my favorite place in Mexico is, I can’t tell you, because I’ve never been there.”

According to campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore, there are approximately 500 undocumented students at UC Berkeley, and about 400 of those students are in the DACA program. Additionally, according to UCOP spokesperson Claire Doan, there are an estimated 4,000 undocumented students in the UC system, with an unknown number of students in the DACA program. Berkeley Unified School District does not keep track of the immigration or DACA status of its students, according to BUSD spokesperson Charles Burress.

Chancellor Carol Christ, campus Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion Oscar Dubón and Undocumented Student Program director Meng So released a statement Tuesday addressing Trump’s decision to end DACA.

“This is a devastating step backward and a measure that undermines the spirit of our highest values as a university and as a nation,” Christ, Dubón and So said in the statement. “At a time when our campus and community values are being challenged by the prevailing national rhetoric and policy making, we must deepen our resolve and commitment to our principles and to each other.”

The BAMN protest that Montes and Carranza attended began gathering on the steps of Sproul Hall about 5 p.m., with roughly 150 participants at its peak. Protesters then marched down Telegraph Avenue and looped through two campus residence halls — Unit 1 and Unit 3 — before heading back to Sproul Plaza.

Some protesters were accompanied by their children, such as Berkeley residents Maya Trabin and Trenton DuVal, who brought their daughters. Trabin said it was important to bring their children to these sorts of events so they know in the future to use their voices for good, while Duval added that the termination of DACA is an attack on family.

“We want to make sure we pass on our values to them and make sure they know the world they get in can be improved, needs to be improved, Trabin said.

Yvette Felarca, a BAMN organizer and BUSD teacher, encouraged people to continue to attend rallies in order to maintain anti-Trump resistance. She said at the protest that the success of the movement will come with working together.

Targeting DACA does not satisfy any actual political agenda, said Berkeley resident Allison Banks, who called it it “one more human rights atrocity.”

“This (is a) rapid dismantling of human rights, and we just more than ever have to rally around these human rights atrocities,” Banks said. “We have to defend democracy.”

Sakura Cannestra covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SakuCannestra.