Schools say they will stand by students

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On Tuesday President Donald J. Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy put in place by Barack Obama, putting the future of 800,000 young immigrants in doubt.
The move may have a significant impact on Gilroy, with a Hispanic population of about 60 percent.
Gavilan College President Dr. Kathleen Rose said Gavilan would remain open to DACA students and the school would provide facilities and support for all students. Gavilan’s support includes a website with legal resources as well as a legal resource guide in English and Spanish as well as monthly DACA renewal clinics supported by Catholic Charities.
“This has been the ongoing work of the Dreamers Task Force Group that formed this year and it will continue to be a part of how we support our students and the community,” Dr. Rose said. “None of that will change. We feel strongly that students that feel a lot of fear because of the changing climate nationally need to be able to have a place where they can have a number of resources that will provide useful information about decisions that they will have to make. Community colleges always have been a place of equal ground for education and Gavilan will continue to be one of those places.”
In March the Gavilan Board of Trustees voted to keep the college open to all students regardless of their legal status. The college complies with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, which prohibits the release of a student’s personal information related to immigration status without a warrant, subpoena or court order without their permission.
The Faculty Association of California Community Colleges also issued a statement about DACA.
“FACCC stands in solidarity with our DACA students urges Congress to immediately fashion a solution to protect their status in the United States. The California Community Colleges have benefitted for over a decade from the presence of students who qualify for AB 540 status, and more recently under the California Dream Act and DACA. Forcibly removing them from this country, where they work and study hard to make a permanent and meaningful contribution, is both senseless and cruel. It is time to demonstrate compassion for our Dreamers and remind them that they remain welcome at our community colleges.”
Community Agency for Resources Advocacy and Services, a non-profit organization that advocates for Latino families, has helped more than 130 DACA applicants apply in South County. They estimate that there the total people eligible for DACA was over 5,055 when DACA was enacted in 2012.
“We have gotten a lot of calls in the last couple of weeks from the youth we helped apply initially and they are very concerned,” said Reymundo Armendariz, Director of Programs for CARAS. “A lot of them are concerned about their jobs. The statistics show that over 90 percent of DACA applicant are employed, and we definitely see that in the South County area.”
Armendariz and CARAS have assisted youth who work blue collar jobs, in the agriculture industry and some who have higher paying white collar positions.
“We have applicants that are university graduates,” Armendariz said. “We have twins that we helped from Gilroy High School that graduated from California Berkeley and UCSC who are now marine biologists.”
CARAS has seen an increase in anxiety and discouragement in recent months.
“I think it has mobilized a certain group of people in the community to take action like taking part in demonstrations or protesting,” Armendariz said. “There’s been a movement of them reaching out to their representatives, signing petitions and calling the White House. Can that necessarily offset the sense of discouragement? Absolutely not. Anything that has to deal with immigration sends whole families into distress.”