The Robert D. Haas Undocumented Community Resource Center held its grand opening Feb. 6, creating a space specifically for undocumented students and allies.
The Undocumented Community Resource Center, located at 180 César Chávez Student Center, is a space that provides undocumented students and allies with professional academic counseling, mental health support, access to resources and a place to study, according to campus junior Railyn Aguado, who is an intern for the Educational Opportunity Program, or EOP. Chancellor Carol Christ, Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion Oscar Dubón and various student leaders spoke at the inaugural event about their experiences on campus and their support for the undocumented community.
“The establishment of the Undocumented Community Resource Center is significant in the foundation of the community here at Cal,” Aguado said in an email. “It epitomizes the university as a place that values diverse backgrounds, inclusivity, and representation. Significantly, the resource center embodies the value of the university and its’ aim to assure that every voice is heard.”
The center is now one of many organizations that serves undocumented students on campus.
In 2010, students and staff recommended former chancellor Robert Birgeneau to implement a task force to highlight the issues and needs undocumented students face on campus, according to the Undocumented Student Program website. Today, the task force is known as the Standing Committee for Undocumented Members of the On-Campus Community.
In September 2019, the UC system sued the federal government in the U.S. Supreme Court after the Trump administration announced its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. While the litigation continues, UC Berkeley and the UC system have expressed support for undocumented students and have said they continue to provide resources to undocumented students.
The Undocumented Community Resource Center is different from the Haas Dreamer’s Resource Center, which is located in a separate part of the César Chávez Student Center and received its funding in 2012. Currently, the Haas Dreamer’s Resource Center shares the space with EOP, which serves first-generation, low-income and underrepresented college students.
Liliana Iglesias, director of the Undocumented Student Program, added that undocumented students wanted their own space for their specific needs.
“While the Dreamer’s Resource Center has existed as a shared space with the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), students expressed wanting a center of their own where they can be themselves, feel safe, and access resources focused on their unique needs,” Iglesias said in an email. “The Haas family knew that this was an essential need for undocumented students on campus.”
The Undocumented Community Resource Center already has “regulars” within its first week who have expressed joy that a center was created specifically for them, according to Iglesias.
Iglesias also emphasized the importance of having a resource center that caters to the needs of undocumented students on campus.
“Especially in this anti-immigrant political climate, it is important to have a space dedicated to undocumented students,” Iglesias said in an email. “It gives them a sense of belonging on campus and shows them that the university sees and values them, and that it wants them to thrive.”